Narendra Giri, the religious leader who allegedly died by suicide on Monday, had recorded a video on his mobile phone just one hour before his death, the police say. His allegations in the video reportedly match what he wrote in a 13-page suicide note found near his body.
Narendra Giri, the head of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad and an influential seer photographed with many top politicians of the country, was found dead in his ashram in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj on Monday afternoon.
The 4 minute 30 second mobile phone video, say police sources, points at premeditation.
Narendra Giri, according to sources, did not know how to record videos on the selfie mode. On Sunday, the day before his death, he reportedly called a trusted disciple, Sarvesh Dwivedi, and took a quick lesson.
Mobile phone data shows the seer recorded a couple of test videos before the final one. "After checking the quality of the test videos, he recorded the final video," said sources.
In the video, Narendra Giri reportedly says he was afraid that his disciple Anand Giri wanted to make a morphed photo of him with a woman viral and he would be shamed. He says, according to sources, that he was so distraught that he didn't see any purpose in living.
Like in his suicide note, the seer blames Anand Giri - the virtual number two in the ashram - Aadya Tiwari and his son Sandeep Tiwari for his suicide, according to sources who have seen the video. He accuses the three of blackmailing him.
All three were arrested on Tuesday.
The mobile phone was found from Narendra Giri's room after his death.
The police have also seized the mobile phones of the three accused.
According to officers, Sandeep Tiwari had a phone worth over Rs 1 lakh despite working at a temple for Rs 9,000 a month.
Anand Giri, the seer's top disciple, used an iPhone, say the police. He was expelled by Narendra Giri earlier this year over allegations of financial fraud and irregularities but apparently returned.
A video showed him at the feet of his mentor, seeking forgiveness. But the patch-up was short-lived, and Anand Giri was accused of harassing Narendra Giri along with the Tiwaris.
Soon after the seer was found dead, Anand Giri had alleged a conspiracy "by people who used to extort money from Narendra Giri".
"It is a huge conspiracy by people who used to extort money from Guruji and wrote my name in the letter. It needs to be investigated as guru Ji has not written a letter in his life and could not do suicide. His handwriting needs to be probed," he had said.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked for a CBI probe into the death.
"I want to thank the Chief Minister for handing over the case to the CBI. I want to request the Home Minister to order the CBI to immediately take over the case," Kailashanand Brahmachari, head of the Niranjani Akhada, one of the constituents of the Akhada Parishad, told reporters.