Bombay HC slams EOW for ‘unsatisfactory’ progress report in Osho will case

Govt-approved lab report reveals Osho’s signature on will is fake: petitioner

The Bombay High Court on Thursday said it was not satisfied with the progress report filed by the Pune’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to ascertain the veracity of the will of spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh. The court was hearing a petition filed by a disciple of Rajneesh, Yogesh Thakkar, who has alleged that the will, which came up 23 years after Rajneesh’s death, was fake. Rajneesh died in 1990 and his will was prepared in 1989. Thakker has alleged that Rajneesh’s will was forged by the trustees to transfer his intellectual property rights to the foundation and had claimed to prove his allegations with the report of a private handwriting expert.

Thakkar had filed a complaint against the trustees of the Osho International Foundation in 2012, following which an offence of alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds was lodged at the Koregaon Park police station in 2013.

In 2016, claiming there was no progress in investigation, Thakkar had filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court and demanded a CBI probe in the case. The case was, however, transferred to the EOW of the Pune City Police.

On Thursday, submitting a report given by a government-approved forensic laboratory in New Delhi, the petitioner told the court that Osho Rajneesh’s will was fake. Senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for Thakkar, told court that they had sent a copy of the will to a government-approved forensic lab in Delhi. After verifying the signatures on the documents, the lab report revealed that the signatures were forged, the court was told.

A division bench of Justice R M Savant and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere has asked the EOW to take the report into consideration. The court said the EOW had failed to take concrete steps to either procure original will or ascertain whether the signatures on the will and its copies were true. The bench has also directed the EOW to conduct a thorough investigation and file a report on August 1.

The EOW has been asked to send a copy of the will to a reputed forensic lab or handwriting expert, to assure if the signatures on the will are genuine, or forged — as alleged by the petitioner, the court said.

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