38-year-old Anand Giri, a priest at the Bade Hanuman Temple in Prayagraj who refers to himself as 'yoga guru' and 'spiritual leader', is known to live it up.
Even as Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri was laid to rest at Baghambari Math in Prayagraj on Wednesday, his disciple Anand Giri continued to be on the spotlight who is now an accused in the alleged abetment of suicide of the former.
Two days ago, Narendra Giri was found hanging in his room at the Baghambari Math. The police also found an alleged handwritten suicide note in which the seer blamed Anand Giri and two others for his death. On Wednesday, the Prayagraj police arrested Anand Giri and Adhya Prasad Tiwari, another of Narendra Giri’s disciples, after questioning them at length.
In the letter, the Mahant also accused Anand Giri of misappropriation of funds. The mahant is said to have got Anand Giri expelled from Niranjani akhara following allegations that he went against the traditions of the akhara by keeping in touch with his family.
38-year-old Anand Giri, a priest at the Bade Hanuman Temple in Prayagraj who refers to himself as ‘yoga guru’ and ‘spiritual leader’, is known to live it up. His non-ascetic lifestyle was highlighted after photographs of him riding luxury cars and bikes, and enjoying luxury lifestyle in luxury hotels and beaches started making rounds on social media after the Mahant’s death.
In May 2019, Anand Giri was arrested by the Sydney police and produced before an Australian court in connection with the cases lodged against him by two women in 2016 and 2018 for inappropriate behaviour. However, he was later acquitted by the court.
Born in a lower middle class farming family in Bhilwada, Rajasthan, Anand Giri is known to have left his house at 12 and joined a gurukul in Haridwar. Later, he came to Baghambari Math and became a disciple of Narendra Giri, the mahant of Bare Hanuman Mandir, who inducted him into his Niranjani Akhara.
Over the years, Anand Giri became the most “favourite disciple” of Mahant and was also considered as his heir apparent. His rapid rise in the math and akhara and his luxurious lifestyle raised several eyebrows but Mahant continued to support him.
But their relationship began souring earlier this year after Anand Giri started accusing his mentor of fraud in the alleged sale of land belonging to the akhara.
The akhara is said to have in its possession acres of land not just in Prayagraj and neighbouring districts but also in Haridwar, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Later, some people managed to call for truce and Anand Giri formally sought forgiveness from Narendra Giri and the Panch Parmeshwar of the Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani.
Narendra Giri had then forgiven him and had also lifted the ban on Anand Giri from entering Bade Hanuman temple and the Baghambari Mutt that had been imposed on him at the time of expulsion.