Akhara head’s disciple held for suicide abetment, UP forms SIT

A purported suicide note by Hindu seer Narendra Giri named his disciple and the Math’s de-facto number 2 till recently, Anand Giri, Bade Hanuman Temple priest Aadya Tiwari, and his son Sandeep Tiwari of harassing him, UP police said.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath pays tribute to Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri Maharaj in Prayagraj on Tuesday. (PTI)
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath pays tribute to Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri Maharaj in Prayagraj on Tuesday. (PTI)
Published on Sep 21, 2021 11:27 PM IST
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Prayajraj: Police on Tuesday arrested a disciple of influential Hindu seer Narendra Giri on charges of abetting the latter’s alleged suicide and formed an 18-member special investigation team to probe the death even as chief minister Yogi Adityanath promised to spare no culprits and the Opposition demanded an inquiry.

Giri -- the president of the Akhada Parishad, the top decision-making body of the 13 Hindu monastic orders, and mahant (chief priest) of the Bade Hanuman Temple in Prayagraj -- was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his room in the Baghambari Gaddi Math in Prayagraj on Monday evening.

A purported suicide note by the seer named his disciple and the Math’s de-facto number 2 till recently, Anand Giri, Bade Hanuman Temple priest Aadya Tiwari, and his son Sandeep Tiwari of harassing him, said police.

Anand Giri was taken into custody in Haridwar on Monday night, brought to Prayagraj on Tuesday and arrested after several hours of interrogation, said police.

Additional director general of police (Prayagraj zone) Prem Prakash said a case under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) was lodged against Anand Giri at Georgetown police station on a complaint by Pawan Maharaj, a staffer at the math who reported the note to the authorities.

“He (Anand Giri) is being brought to Allahabad for further probe,” additional director general (law & order) Prashant Kumar said, adding that evidence in the case was being collected. An “unbiased and transparent” probe into the matter is on and the state police is capable of handling the case, the officer said.

About the veracity of the purported suicide note, Kumar said forensic experts were looking into it.

Adityanath visited the ashram and paid his last respects to the late seer and remembered him as someone who always tried to make every religious event in Prayagraj a mega success befitting the grandeur of the city.

“I would request all to refrain from unnecessary statements in this sensitive case and allow the investigating agencies to proceed responsibly. A five-member team [of doctors] will conduct a post-mortem on the body on Wednesday. The culprits will not be spared,” Adityanath said.

The CM also said a team of senior police officers, including the ADG, inspector general and deputy inspector general of Prayagraj and the divisional commissioner, will oversee the investigation.

An 18-member special investigation team has been formed for this and will be headed by Colonelganj circle officer (CO) Ajeet Singh Chauhan and will also have Daraganj CO Astha Jaiswal apart from members of the Prayagraj crime branch.

“Statements of sewadars and disciples at the math will be recorded,” said Prayagraj senior superintendent of police Sarvshrestha Tripathi.

The police scanned Giri’s cellphone and found a video of him reportedly shot before he died in which he said the same things as found in the suicide note.

The note itself was widely circulated on social media. In that, the seer admitted to having attempted suicide on September 13 but changing his mind at the last minute. The note also contained the will of the seer, including the succession plan at the akhada.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav also paid tributes to the late seer and demanded a judicial probe into his death by a sitting high court judge.

A lawyer named Sunil Choudhary also wrote to the chief justice of the Allahabad high court, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe, requesting the letter to be treated as a public interest litigation.

“The mahant was provided security by the state government. How can such an incident take place in the presence of a huge number of disciples and security officials?” the letter-petition stated.

The Congress demanded a timebound inquiry into the death.”We are deeply shocked at his untimely passing away and we demand a timebound inquiry so that the guilty can be brought to book immediately,” said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera.

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Thursday, December 09, 2021