3 08-04-87 04:32 ped krishna states Kolibash wants on Krishna probe; devotees seek ministe

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3 08-04-87 04:32 ped krishna states Kolibash wants on Krishna probe; devotees seek minister licenses ELKINS, W.Va. (UPI) _ U.S. Attorney William Kolibash said Tuesday he has asked a federal judge to allow him to continue leading a criminal investigation involving the Hare Krishnas in West Virginia. Kolibash filed last week with U.S. District Judge Robert Maxwell his response to a petition seeking the prosecutor's removal from the Krishna probe. Krishna lawyer Jim Lees filed the request, saying federal agents have been "running their mouths off" to the media about the criminal investigation. Lees said he was displeased with constant anonymous statements to the media, including published remarks by federal investigators concerning purported evidence they may or may not have in the ongoing probe at New Vrindaban, the Krishna community in Marshall County. Kolibash said he denied the charges in his response to the lawyer's petition and believes he shouldn't be removed from the case. A spokeswoman for Maxwell said Tuesday the judge has yet to schedule a hearing to discuss the request for Kolibash's removal. Federal and state investigators have been looking into a wide range of alleged criminal activity at New Vrindaban, including drug-dealing and copyright violations. Meanwhile, the West Virginia Human Rights Commission has begun an investigation into a discrimination complaint filed by two Krishna devotees who say they have been mistreated in their pursuit of minister licenses, a devotee says. Tulsi Das said the complaint alleges Marshall County officials, including prosecuting attorney Thomas White, have discriminated against the Krishnas. Tulsi said he and another devotee from the Krishna community near Moundsvillesought minister licenses so they could legally perform marriage ceremonies for other followers. However, White said the licenses couldn't be approved until he verified through the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in California that th two devotees were ordained. Tulsi said the inquiry was unnecessary since New Vrindaban is not affiliated with the California organization. "Our by-laws say nothing about any association with any Krishna governing body or any other ISKCON commission," Tulsi said.

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