Punjab Guru's Body To Remain In Freezer, Says Court, Rejects Son's Appeal

Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the multi-million dollar sect, Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission), is believed to have died of a cardiac arrest.

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Punjab Guru's Body To Remain In Freezer, Says Court, Rejects Son's Appeal

Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan is believed to have died of a cardiac arrest


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Ashutosh Maharaj died in 2014, body is in freezer at ashram
  2. Disciples say he is in deep meditation, will return to life
  3. Son wants to cremate him, says sect wants to misuse guru's wealth
The body of a spiritual guru who died in January 2014 will for now remain in a freezer, the Punjab and Haryana High Court said, in a decision welcomed by his disciples  who  believe he is in a deep state of meditation and will return to life.

Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the multi-million dollar sect, Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission), is believed to have died of a cardiac arrest.

The court today dismissed a three-year-old petition by Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be his son, and who wanted to get his father's body and cremate him.

The leader's body is in a commercial freezer at his heavily-guarded 100-acre ashram in Punjab.

Mr Jha's lawyer, SP Soi, told news agency AFP that it was unclear whether or not the court approved the sect's argument that Maharaj was alive. "But they dismissed our petition which is disappointing and we will challenge it in the Supreme Court," he said.

The court has cancelled a 2014 judgement that had ordered his cremation after doctors confirmed him clinically dead.

His disciples had challenged the court's cremation order saying he had simply drifted into a deeper form of meditation, something he did often in sub-zero Himalayan temperatures.

The guru established the sect in Jalandhar in 1983 with millions of followers across the world and properties worth an estimated $120 million in India, the United States, South America, Australia, the Middle East and Europe.

Mr Jha claims that the guru's real name was Mahesh Kumar Jha and he left his native village in Bihar in the late 1970's before founding the sect.

He and the guru's former driver Puran Singh filed petitions in court soon after his death demanding a criminal probe and alleging that the sect members were deliberately holding his body to retain control of his vast financial assets.


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