Two ‘mahants’ of Siddhnath Mahadev Temple in Saij village of adjoining Gandhinagar district were allegedly hacked to death by unidentified persons, police said on Tuesday.
Though the police have lodged a case of loot with murder, as the assailants had decamped with some cash after the double murder late last night, police is not ruling out the angle of old rivalry or grudge.
The temple-cum-ashram is situated in Saij village of Kalol taluka in Gandhinagar. The deceased have been identified as the main priest (mahant) Dilipgiri Maharaj and his associate Ishwarvan Maharaj, both in the age group of 52-55 years.
According to Kalol police inspector RR Chaudhary, both of them were killed using an axe when they were asleep inside the temple.
“Both mahants were hacked to death using an axe during late last night. Since the assailants have scattered their belongings, we believe that murders were committed to conduct loot,” said Chaudhary.
Primary investigation has revealed that attackers have stolen some cash kept inside a safe after killing priests.
However, many gold and silver articles were found to be intact, which has prompted police to look into the angle of rivalry or old grudge.
According to Gandhinagar district SP Virendrasinh Yadav, both ‘mahants’ were killed when they were fast asleep, which hints at the possibility of an insider’s job.
“This does not look like a clear case of loot with murder. We believe that the attackers might be knowing the victims, as there was no sign of forceful entry or resistance. In addition, many valuables were found to be intact. Thus, we are investigating the case from other angles too,” said Yadav.