Caranaravindam Dasa: Dear devotees,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
A friend of mine, Krishna dasa (Kd), has direct experience dealing with Bhakti Caru Swami and his sidekick Sudipto Mckerjee. He shared all the details with me and now I with you.
They purchased an aerial survey company called McPhar Geological Surveys some years ago and formed a sister company later called AMG India.
BCS/McPharr was given a loan of nearly two hundred thousand dollars, nearly all of Kd’s life savings, coming from the sale of the family farm. The loan was suggested by a friend of his, who worked for the company in Toronto. Since McPharr was in financial difficulty, due to ineptitude and inexperience, the loan was given to Skyvision Exploration and then re-lent to McPharr and/or AMG India. The loan was undertaken because Skyvision owned an aircraft which could was used as collateral for the loan.
The term of the loan was for one year; however, the loan wasn’t repaid on time with many interest payments in arrears. Meanwhile, McKerjee wanted to move the plane to India to undertake survey work. The plane was being readied in the U.S. for the trip to India when the conflict of non-payment occurred.
Kd wasn’t at all in favor of letting the plane out of the US, as it would be impossible to get a fair hearing in India, if the issue was ever forced to court. The anxiety increased as it became known that Mckerjee was rich in experience of bribing various individuals in private business and the Indian government.
AMG/Skyvision offered a bond from the Bank of India with some cash up front. A bond is a legal instrument given by a bank guaranteeing payment for goods or services; that is, if all the conditions of the bond were fulfilled. Some of the conditions could not be met by Kd as he was neither a geologist, nor had any relations with foreign governments (Iran & Algeria) to secure further work.
It was obvious that Kd could not fulfill any of these obligations, as he is not a geologist. With the plane in India, and the terms of the bond unfulfilled, the bond could easily be cancelled with the fate of the plane left to the whims of a corrupt Indian judiciary. To accept these conditions was beyond reason. As events began to unfold, it became obvious that the plan was to get control of the asset without paying the loan.
The nature of BCS and Mckerjee became more apparent as the negotiations continued. Their word couldn’t be trusted.
Kd was in India at the time and while negotiations were undergoing, it was found out that Sudipto, and his assistant, left for the US in order to get the plane ready to fly to India. Thankfully, there was a complication of getting aircraft insurance and the plans were delayed.
As a result, a legal firm in Toronto was retained to secure the plane. Due to the short time on hand, the lawyers suggested pursuing a Mareva injunction. A Mareva injunction is the nuclear bomb of legal instruments, as it doesn’t allow the accused party to be in court to defend themselves, and is granted only in times of emergency.
This type of injunction is given when an encumbered asset is being moved to hide the asset from creditors. However, it cannot be awarded if an asset is being transferred in the normal course of business. The judge, nonetheless, granted the Mareva, aware that the plane was destined for business purposes.
The plane was seized, but in reaction, Mckerjee and BCS sought out their own legal help. It was the same law firm handling their McPhar bankruptcy. The strategy was to challenge the granting of the Mareva, claiming that the court was misled that the plane was being moved to hide the asset.
They were successful in court and the Mareva injunction was squashed. Even though the plane was awarded to Kd, unfortunately, the judge’s wording on the plane’s ownership was unclear.
Since there were two loan agreements and a legal lien on the plane, the possession of the plane hadn’t been disputed in court. However, the judge awarded unspecified damages against Kd for for the perception of misleading the court.
McKerjee and BCS concocted damages of $300,000, and an appeal was necessary so the original judge could clarify that he was informed the plane was being moved for commercial purposes. This would stop the awarding of damages as it would be clear that the court had not been misled. In addition, the wording regarding the possession of the plane needed to be clarified.
The legal fees for the appeal was estimated at $20,000, which was a bit daunting due to the bill for previous legal work already amounted to $100,000.
There was no way that BCS could retain possession of the plane due to the nonpayment of the loan and the ironclad lien on the plane. So BCS’s and Mckerjee’s plan, was to bankrupt Kd and take the plane as payment for payment of damages.
Mckerjee and BCS were very bitter that the possession of the plane was lost and wanted revenge. This was stated explicitly to a witness at the onset of the proceedings.
The former Chief Financial Officer of the company, informed the same above witness that BCS was in consultation with Mckerjee on every aspect of the business and this cold-blooded legal maneuver. It is beyond reason that BCS wasn’t involved in these decisions, especially when his later actions are taken into account.
In the meantime, the GBC became involved after hearing so many complaints from BCS’s lenders. An investigation was begun and intense pressure at the Mumbai GBC meetings was placed upon BCS to repay the loans and stop his business involvement.
At this time, the GBC involved Iskcon Resolve after it was learned that the Washington Post was showing interest in BCS’s survey work in Iran.
There were hundreds of emails exchanged during the negotiations between McKerjee and Kd. In the end, the company trustee of Skyvision attested that there were no damages to the company and released ownership of the plane.
Before the whole legal debacle began, BCS provided a written guarantee to his creditors as follows:
>I am extremely sad to hear this from ——— Prabhu. He had been
> loyally serving McPhar through its extremely critical phase. He had been
> holding the fort practically single handedly for last few months. Now, to
> make him feel that he is worth nothing is extremely unfair and ungrateful,
> to say the least.
> ———- Prabhu, please do not feel that way. We may have failed you in
> many ways, however, please rest assured, that at this time of your
> difficulty we will not desert you, rather we will be there with you and
> give you all the support you need.
> Please let me know what are your difficulties and we will try our best to
> sort them out together.
> Please also assure all the devotees to whom we woe [sic] money that, although
> due to the present critical situation we have been defaulting in paying
> them back and it may take a little longer, nevertheless, their money is
> safe and they will get it back with interest. I personally am standing
> guarantee for that.
> Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
> Bhakti Charu Swami
Other offers were given to help Kd pay his legal fees by BCS, which were originally refused, but later accepted. BCS wasn’t good to his word and none of the fees were repaid.
Iskcon Resolve has informed us that the committee handling BCS’s business failings feel that the plane represents a larger portion of repayment of Kd’s loan than what can be offered to the other lenders, so no more funds are to follow.
The end result is another example of an Iskcon “leader” manipulating disciples for seemingly selfish purposes and begs the question as to why a “sannyasi” is engaged in business activity.
In service to the devotees,