Controversial godman, Chandraswami, passed away due to multi-organ failure on 23 May 2017 in New Delhi. He was 66.
Chandraswami, whose real name was Nemi Chand, exerted enormous power during the regime of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
Chandraswami: Controversy’s favourite child
• Born in 1948 in Behror in Rajasthan, Chandraswami was a tantric, often called as godman by some people.
• He was attracted to the study of Tantra from an early age.
• He left home when still young to become a student of Upadhyar Amar Muni and the tantrik pandit Gopinath Kaviraj.
• He later lived in the jungles of Bihar where he spent time in meditation. He also claimed to have extraordinary powers called siddhis.
• He is also said to have dispensed spiritual advice to the Sultan of Brunei, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain, actress Elizabeth Taylor, British PM Margaret Thatcher, arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, crime Lord Dawood Ibrahim and 'Tiny' Rowland.
• He rose to prominence as a result of his association with P V Narasimha Rao. Chandraswami was said to have been the former PM’s spiritual adviser.
• Soon after Rao became Prime Minister in 1991, Chandraswami built an ashram known as Vishwa Dharmayatan Sanathan in Delhi's Qutub Institutional Area.
• In 1996, the godman was arrested on charges of defrauding a London-based businessman of USD 100000.
• He has also faced charges for repeated violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. An income-tax raid on his ashram is reported to have uncovered original drafts of payments to Adnan Khashoggi of USD 11 million.
• The Jain Commission, in its report, dedicated a volume to Chandraswami’s alleged involvement in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
• In May 2009, the Supreme Court granted him permission to travel abroad, lifting a ban on overseas travel imposed as a result of his alleged involvement in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.