Anand Giri was detained in Haridwar on Monday, after police said they found a seven-page “suicide note” in which the mahant held him and two other priests responsible for his death.
A DAY after Mahant Narendra Giri, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), was found dead at Baghambari math in Prayagraj, an FIR has been filed against his disciple and yoga guru, Anand Giri, on charges of abetment of suicide.
Anand Giri was detained in Haridwar on Monday, after police said they found a seven-page “suicide note” in which the mahant held him and two other priests responsible for his death. A team of the Uttar Pradesh police brought him to Prayagraj on Tuesday, where he is being questioned.
The body will be sent for post-mortem examination on Wednesday, after which the funeral will be held. Police said the purported suicide note will also be sent for forensic examination.
The two other priests, Adha Prasad Tiwari and his son Sandeep Tiwari, are from Prayagraj. They have not been named in the FIR, filed on the complaint of another disciple, Amar Giri Pawan Maharaj. According to the complaint, the head of the ABAP – considered the largest grouping of sadhus in the country – was disturbed for the last few months because of Anand Giri and had said several times that he was unhappy because of him.
Additional Director General, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said the role of other persons named in the purported suicide note was also being probed. While no arrests have been made so far, some of the mahant’s followers are being questioned.
Police are also probing the death of another disciple, Ashish Giri, in Prayagraj in November 2019. When his bloodstained body was found, it was alleged that Ashish Giri had shot himself.
Narendra Giri had been given Y-category security. Sources said security personnel assigned to guard him would also be questioned.
For the past few months, Narendra Giri had been involved in a public tussle with Anand Giri, with both sides accusing each other of, among other things, misappropriation of funds.
The mahant is said to have got Anand Giri expelled from Niranjani akhara following allegations that he went against the traditions of the akhara by keeping in touch with his family. While Anand Giri also accused his guru of financial irregularities, he is said to have later apologised.
In a statement to the media on Monday, Anand Giri denied any misunderstanding, and called the mahant’s death a conspiracy hatched by those who had allegedly misappropriated math funds.
According to police, one of Narendra Giri’s disciples called up at around 5.20 pm on Monday and informed them that the mahant had hanged himself from a fan in his room. The disciple reportedly told the police that they cut the rope and brought the body down.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav were among those who went to Prayagraj to pay tribute to the mahant. The chief minister said a high-level police team was probing the case, and strict action would be taken if anyone was found responsible for the death.
Akhilesh Yadav demanded an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge.
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