In another shocking incident involving a sadhu from Karnataka, Shivacharya Nirvanarudra Pashupatinath Maharaj, the founder-spiritual head of Nirvanji Pashupatinath Mutt, was found dead in his bedroom at his ashram in Umri near here on Sunday morning, with police stating that robbery may have been the motive.
Later in the evening, the Nanded police arrested the prime suspect behind the Mutt head and one of his associates.
After killing Pashupatinath Maharaj’s associate Bhagwan Shinde, the prime suspect - identified as one Sainath Langote — went to the ashram late on Saturday night.
Finding Maharaj alone resting in his bedroom at his Ashram, Langote allegedly threw chilli powder in his eyes, blinding him. He took away Rs 69,000, his laptop, other valuables in the bedroom worth approximately Rs 1.50 lakh and the sadhu’s car keys.
As Maharaj put up some resistance, Langote overpowered and strangled him. Later, he dragged the deceased Mutt head’s body to the latter’s parked outside and dumped it into the vehicle’s boot and sped off from the place. Acting on a tip-off that the prime accused had fled to Telangana, the police traced to a nearby Tanur village in the neighbouring State and arrested him.
Talking to media persons later in the evening, Nanded’s Superintendent of Police Vijaykumar Magar said the accused first killed the sadhu’s associate Bhagwan Shinde and then went to the ashram late on Saturday.
“After killing Maharaj, the accused tried to escape using his car parked outside the ashram. While driving out of the Ashram, the car crashed into the main gate of the ashram causing a huge noise and commotion. The followers of the Swami who were sleeping inside the ashram woke up and tried to catch the acussed,” Magar said.
“The Swami’s followers attempted to stop Langote. But, the accused managed to escape after stealing a motorbike in the neighbourhood. He sped off into the darkness and hours later, the police found the body of the Swami’s associate Shinde from a nearby school premises, Magar said.
“We have arrested the prime suspect. We will interrogate him and find out further details of the crime,” Magar said.
Shivacharya Maharaj, who originally hailed from Karnataka, came to Nanded more than a decade ago and set up the ashram which he ran along with a band of followers.
Incidentally, the twin murders, including that of a sadhu, have taken place in the home district of senior Congress leader and Cabinet Minister in the Uddhav Thackeray Government Ashok Chavan.