Ex-navy officer's Sanatan links go unprobed

On May 5, 2009, Sean Clarke, 39, made a formal application to the CID for a year’s extension of his visa, “to render ‘seva’ (service)” to the Sanatan Ramnathi ashram as a full time voluntary worker. Though the former navy officer styles himself as a spiritual guru, claiming to run the Sanatan’s Spiritual Research Foundation website, police documents show he shared the dais publicly with militant saffron groups like the Bajran Dal, VHP and the RSS on two occasions here in Goa. The public meetings were suffused with provocative rhetoric directed at the government and the minorities. But the police cleared Sean for visa extensions several times saying there was nothing “adverse” in his record.

The Sanatan says Sean is no longer in the ashram. “He left some three or four months ago,” SS trustee Virendra Marathe told this newspaper.

His sister, the once well-known model Sharon Clarke Sequeira, 42, however, still lives in the ashram. Marathe says she has been associated with them from 1990. Sharon Clarke is one among many women associated with the Sanatan who have dumped their families to become fulltime “seekers”. Sanatan records list her as a “proof-reader” for English translations. Marathe, however, denies the Sanatan uses spirituality as a ploy to separate families. His own wife lived happily in the ashram as a seeker, he said. Sean Clarke joined the Indian Navy in 1986 and served till 1994.

He took premature retirement, his documents say, for medical reasons. His father Richard Clarke served as the CO of the navy’s Hansa base in Goa in the 90s.

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