DNA News Agency on Erico Nadel’s 2009 Meher Colony Murder

Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai,
Vishveshwar, 2 Feb 15

Attacked in Ahmednagar, US citizen dies of injuries in hospital

Source: DNA
Monday, 7 September 2009 - 3:58am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna
Prashant Aher & Gitesh Shelke

The couple has been staying on the trust’s residential premises at Arangaon for 35 years. Heather is a trustee of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in Meherabad.

Sixty-one year old Eric Nadel, a US citizen, breathed his last on Sunday morning at 11.30 am after struggling for his life for 11 days. Eric and his wife Heather (59) — both followers of spiritual guru Avatar Meher Baba, had sustained severe head injuries after being brutally attacked by robbers in the early morning hours of August 26 at their isolated bungalow at Arangaon village, 9 km from Ahmednagar. The couple has been staying on the trust’s residential premises at Arangaon for 35 years. Heather is a trustee of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in Meherabad.

Neurosurgeons at Sahyadri Hospital Dr Praveen Jain and Dr Vaijanti Belle said Eric died due to severe brain injuries. According to doctors, Heather’s condition — who too had sustained serious head injuries in the incident — is stable now. “She has been moved out of the intensive care unit to a private ward,” Jain said, adding that when the news of her husband’s death was broken to her, she suffered a shock but recovered later.

Doctors attending on Eric had said he had suffered multiple fractures on the skull and sustained brain injuries. He had slipped into coma after suffering a blow on the head. Belle, who operated upon Eric, had said that he sustained multiple fractures on the skull as “the suspects had used sharp-edged weapons to assault him.”

Policemen at Deccan Gymkahana station carried out the panchanama in the hospital before the body was sent to the Sassoon general hospital for an autopsy.

Relatives and other family friends who were present at the hospital refused to speak on the issue. Assistant police inspector DS Mahajan who is investigating the attack on the US couple, said the two suspects — Gaphal Ashok Bhosale (20) and Amitabh Swastik Chavan (22) — arrested earlier are currently in magisterial custody. Police have been unable to make any headway in the case. No weapons and valuables have been recovered from the arrested suspects.

The attack on the couple had shocked local residents and followers of Meher Baba.

Heather and Eric were born into well-off families who met while studying at Stanford University. They gave up their lives of privilege to live in extreme simplicity in keeping with the philosophy of Meher Baba.

“Since 1971, they have chosen to live in a place that has long been about as remote as you can get from mainstream society,” a posting on the email by a member said.


Erico and Heather’s peers, a small tightly-knit group of western “Long-time Meherabad Residents,” most of whom own property in Meherabad and its environs, blamed this murder on then and still serving Trustee Mehernath Kalchuri. They launched a world-wide whispering campaign in which it was asserted that Erico had been gathering documentary evidence of corruption on the part of Mehernath, and that evidence was stolen during this criminal incident.

Even if every single word of that rumour is true, it proves nothing against Mehernath in this crime. Robbery is hard work. It’s dangerous and it requires both planning and secrecy. If you were a thief, and you finally arrived at the scene of your supposed pay-off, and all you discovered was a set of important-looking documents that you didn’t understand, what would you do? You would steal them in the hope that they would later prove to be something that could be sold, would you not? You would, simply because of being a thief; that was your appointed calling and your reason for being on the scene.

Erico was independently wealthy, and was so known because of money he independently gave to local Indians in need. He was smart enough not to store financial assets in his home, but not smart enough to have security lights, guard dogs, and a high wall topped by broken glass on his property.

Said whispering campaign has caused the Trust’s income, which was previously rising from year to year, to start falling in 2009, and to continue falling in every succeeding year. It has also poisoned the interracial atmosphere in the Meher Baba Community in India.

Said whispering campaign will be in force in perpetuity unless and until this crime is solved. Because of the shadow thrown on the Trust’s reputation by said whispering campaign, this crime must be solved. Because of the financial problems that the Trust is currently experiencing as a result of this whispering campaign, this crime must be solved. Because the best outcome for the criminals involved in this incident is to be apprehended and to suffer the punishment that they have merited, this crime must be solved. To allow westerners to feel free to come to Meher Baba’s Samadhi, which is the Trust’s first duty under its Deed from Meher Baba, seeing that local Indians, transient Indians, and all westerners have the protection of the law in the Ahmednagar administrative district, this crime must be solved.

If the local police continue to be incompetent to solve this crime, the Trust should seek help from the Indian national police administration in Delhi, on the grounds that, because of the number of westerners and other foreigners who visit Meherbad, this case has foreign policy implications, or ultimately will have them.

Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai,
Vishveshwar, 2 Feb 15


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