Congress has demanded an investigation into the death of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) president Mahant Narendra Giri by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the supervision of the Supreme Court or the Division Bench of the High Court.
At a press conference held at the state headquarters in Lucknow on Tuesday, Congress Working Committee member and former Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari and State Congress President Ajay Kumar Lallu expressed anger over the incident and alleged that 21 saints have been killed or have died under suspicious circumstances under Yogi Adityanath's regime.
The Congress leaders said, "To date, 21 saints have been killed or have died under suspicious circumstances under the rule of a chief minister who calls himself a Yogi. Under Yogi Adityanath's rule, Uttar Pradesh has become a state of murder and heinous crimes. NCRB data confirms this."
The death of Mahant Narendra Giri under suspicious circumstances is sad not only for the Sant Samaj but also for the country, Pramod Tiwari said. The "offence of suppressing the facts" of the incident will not be accepted at any cost, said Tiwari.
He further asked, "Why, how, and under whose pressure the police termed it a suicide without the post-mortem report? Congress is concerned that no other sadhu or sanyasis should be killed. A video going viral should also be made a part of the investigation. What conversation took place between Mahant ji and the Deputy Chief Minister, who met him a day before the incident? This should also be a matter of investigation. Even if he committed suicide, what compelled him to take such a drastic step?"
"This should also be found out that who all had an eye on the property of the Math worth thousands of crores. Only if the matter is investigated by the CBI under the supervision of the Supreme Court or the Division Bench of the High Court, the truth will come to the fore," Mr Tiwari asserted.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee President Ajay Kumar Lallu alleged that "Yogi Raj has become Dushasan Raj", adding that no one is safe in the Yogi Adityanath-led state.
He further said, "There are speculations that Mahant ji was unable to sign. Then, who wrote the seven-page suicide note? Who conspired at the highest level to grab the property of the Math? If the suicide note itself is to be taken as true, there are three persons named in it. But only one person has been named in the FIR."
The Uttar Pradesh Congress chief alleged that without carrying out an autopsy or a forensic examination, the local administration declared the death of Mahant Narendra Giri as suicide.
"The State Congress President said that just as the Yogi government tried many tricks to discredit the Hathras rape incident as false, in the same way, the government is portraying this incident as a suicide. It seems that there is an attempt to hide something in this because the room from where the body of Mahant ji was taken out was neither his bedroom nor sitting room. How did the people present in the Math know that Mahant ji was in that room and why were they in a haste to break the doors and remove his body without informing the police? The local administration also immediately declared it a suicide, though neither a post-mortem nor a forensic examination had been conducted," Mr Lallu added.
Meanwhile, the body of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) President Mahant Narendra Giri was taken to Swaroop Rani Medical College in Prayagraj for an autopsy on Wednesday.
"The autopsy started today morning. A panel of 20 doctors had been constituted by the government, out of which, five doctors were chosen for conducting the procedure at the last moment," members of ABAP said.
Mahant Giri was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Baghambari Math in Prayagraj on Monday. A purported suicide note was recovered from the site of the incident in which the seer's disciples, Anand Giri, and two others are named.
Anand Giri, who alleged that it was a conspiracy by people who used to extort money from the ABAP president, has been charged by the police for abetment of suicide on Tuesday.