From Narendra Giri's Protégé to His Rival: Who Is Anand Giri?
The two were involved in a power struggle for several months.
Narendra Giri, the chief of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad – one of the largest Hindu monastic bodies of India – allegedly died by suicide on 20 September 2021. Reports of a 13-page-long suicide note accusing his protégé and later rival, Anand Giri, have surfaced since.
The note also reportedly accuses Anand Giri of planning to use a morphed picture to discredit Narendra Giri.
However, this is not the first time that the fallout between late Narendra Giri and his disciple has emerged in public eye; the two were involved in a power struggle for several months.
On Monday, 20 September, Anand Giri was arrested by the UP Police and brought to Prayagraj for interrogation after the alleged suicide. Here's all you need to know about him.
An 'Unconventional' Saint
Anand Giri, the 40-year-old hailing from Uttarakhand, was a member of Niranjani Akhara. In 2000, he chose Narendra Giri to be his guru and associated himself with Baghmabari Gaddi Math in 2005.
In the Hindu ascetic community, Anand was touted as the successor of Baghambari Gaddi.
Anand Giri's public persona was extremely distinct form his saint peers; while most saints led a modest lifestyle in the public eye, Anand was seen travelling in expensive cars, enjoying a drink in a chartered plane, and getting snapped at picturesque locations across the world.
In 2019, he was charged with two separate cases of molestation and detained in Australia. As per the allegations, he had harassed a 29-year-old woman and a 34-year-old woman in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
However, a local court closed the cases against him.
Ousted From Akhara, Fallout With Narendra Giri
Earlier this year, Anand Giri was accused of violating customs of seer community, such as being in touch with his family members, and and was ousted from the Niranjani Akhara.
It was around this time, in May 2021, that tensions deepened between the two saints, with Anand Giri levelling allegations of misappropriation of funds and financial irregularities against Narendra.
Anand went on to accuse Narendra Giri of being involved in murky land deals, including an 8 bigha land owned by Baghmabari Math, which was sold for Rs 40 crore to a Samajwadi Party leader in 2012; and being the mastermind behind the suspicious death of Niranjani Akhara secretary, Ashish Giri, in 2019.
The late seer, in turn, accused Anand Giri of misappropriating funds received in temple donations for personal use.
However, the fractured ties between the two seemed to have been mended after the Hindu saint community intervened.
A video showed Anand falling at the feet of Narendra, and Narendra too, withdrew his allegations against Anand.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.