Suspended Mahant ‘prevented’ from taking charge as custodian of Hathiramji Mutt

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Arjun Das, the erstwhile Mahant of Hathiramji Mutt who was suspended by the State government as its custodian, attempted to take charge on Friday, but was allegedly prevented by the endowments officials. It was on January 29 that the Mahant was suspended amid charges of irregularities in land dealings and unceremoniously shunted out, following which Srikalahasti temple Executive Officer C. Chandrasekhar Reddy took charge as the custodian.

On Friday, Arjun Das attempted to take charge following the directions of High Court, wherein Justice A.V. Sesha Sai, in his verdict dated February 10, granted interim order in Writ Petition No.2391/2020, striking down the suspension proceedings of the Commissioner against the Mahant. It requires the nod from the Dharmika Parishad constituted under Section 152 of the AP Endowments Act, 1987, to initiate action on the Mahant and since the Parishad is non-existent, the Commissioner lacks jurisdiction on the issue, the court observed.

‘Politically motivated’

The Mahant told the media that the department’s action was politically motivated as all leaders of various political parties had encroached upon the Mutt lands. Refuting the allegations that he had sold away the precious Mutt lands for a throwaway price, the Mahant also pointed out that the Lord’s jewels were in the safe custody of the court.

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