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Land behind seer?s killing

DISPUTE OVER ownership of land worth crores appeared to be motive behind the sensational Allahabad shootout claiming lives of Sant Gyaneshwar and seven disciples on Saturday. The Allahabad wing of the Special Task Force (STF) probing the case in association of the local police, were now collecting details about those followers of the seer having criminal antecedents.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 01:30 IST

DISPUTE OVER ownership of land worth crores appeared to be motive behind the sensational Allahabad shootout claiming lives of Sant Gyaneshwar and seven disciples on Saturday.

The Allahabad wing of the Special Task Force (STF) probing the case in association of the local police, were now collecting details about those followers of the seer having criminal antecedents. The cops also feared more bloodshed soon, as a fallout of the seer’s killing. Primary investigation in the case revealed that all murders in which Sant Gyneshwar alias Sadanand Tiwari was named, were executed by the latter’s followers. The seer had been named in over 16 cases of heinous crimes including seven murders.

Besides, all murders including those of Sultanpur MLA Indra Bhadra Singh and the district magistrate (DM) of Gopalganj, Bihar and a journalist Ishwari Sharan Mishra in Varanasi, were related to land disputes. Significantly, in all incidents, assailants had used crude bombs to eliminate the targets. An attempt to kill Acharya Shriram Sharma of Haridwar too was made but he had escaped the near-fatal attack. Sant Gyaneshwar was named in this case too.

Sources in the STF revealed that the seer owned properties across UP, Uttaranchal, Bihar and in Nepal too and a majority of these immovable assets worth several crores were reportedly disputed. Sources further revealed that the seer had patronised a group of land mafiosi who used to either grab or purchase prime but dispute lands in meager amounts in the name of establishing Gyaneshwar’s ashram.

No sooner the lands were grabbed, the seer used to establish his ashram at the particular place and begin a battle against the administration. There were several instances in which the administration had to beat a retreat, following the protest by the seer and his followers. Mahesh Prasad Mishra, the then DM Gopalganj, Bihar too was eliminated in 1983 for initiating action against seer’s followers in a land dispute matter.

The STF sources revealed that once the seer’s disciples with criminal antecedents were identified they would work out the case soon.

Meanwhile, principal secretary (Home) Alok Sinha said the government has asked the SSP Barabanki to visit the spot and investigate the police lapses.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 01:30 IST