The power of infamy

The name Nothing to Lose lures the reader into thinking that this is a no-holds barred account of the life and times of Ma Anand Sheela, the controversial globe-trotting sanyasin. Far from it. A more honest title for the book may well have been the plea that Ma Anand Sheela (born Sheela Ambalal Patel) entered in an American court at the time of her trial: “I am guilty but I didn’t do it".  The plea helped leverage a loophole couched in American legalese called the Alford Guilty Plea, which lets an accused claim innocence and yet be guilty of the crimes. Sheela&rsquo.....

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