SECT RANCH FOR SALE

Published: Monday, Sept. 12 1988 12:00 a.m. MDT

About 150 disciples of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh spent the weekend taking a final look at the isolated central Oregon ranch that served as the sect's showplace.

Rancho Rajneesh, 64,000 acres of sagebrush-dotted hills on the high desert, will be sold at auction next month. It had been for sale for $28 million, but fell under foreclosure proceedings by Connecticut General Life Insurance Co."It's such a beautiful place, such a peaceful place and this planet has no use for it," said Swami Prem Niren, the American lawyer who serves as Rajneesh's "ambassador to the United States."

The commune disbanded in 1985 after the guru pleaded guilty to federal immigration charges. Under a plea agreement, he received a suspended 10-year sentence, paid a $400,000 fine and agreed not to return to the United States for five years without the written permission of the U.S. attorney general.

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