The Uttar Pradesh government has recommended a CBI investigation into the death of Narendra Giri, head of top religious body Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad.
"On the instructions of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a probe by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has been recommended in the incident pertaining to the sad death of chairman of Akhara Parishad Mahant Narendra Giri," the state Home department said in a tweet in Hindi.The development comes a day after the state police arrested Anand Giri, Narendra Giri's protege and closest aide till they fell out in May. Anand Giri, it is alleged, had been harassing the religious leader who allegedly died by suicide. Police said a suicide note found near his body mentioned Anand Giri.
The state police had also formed an 18-member Special Investigation Team to probe the incident.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier said that "several pieces of evidence" had been collected and that the "culprits won't be spared".
The Opposition Congress had strongly criticised the government over the incident and demanded a CBI probe.
The "offence of suppressing the facts" will not be accepted at any cost, senior Congress leader and former MP Pramod Tiwari said at a press conference with state party chief Ajay Kumar Lallu yesterday.
"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?," he said.
"It should also be found out 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 will the truth come to the fore," Mr Tiwari asserted.
The Congress leaders alleged that 21 saints have been killed or have died under suspicious circumstances during the term of the Yogi Adityanath government.