CBI must probe religious leader’s death: Achuthanandan

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 12 (IANS) Veteran CPI-M leader V.S. Achuthanandan on Monday sought a CBI probe into the controversial death of a religious leader following claims that he was murdered in 2002.

A businessman, Biju Ramesh, created a sensation by claiming that Swami Swaswethikananda did not drown accidentally in a river at Aluva in Kochi but was rather killed.

“There has been a new development… So I demand the CBI should take up this case,” former chief minister Achuthanandan told reporters here.

At the time of his death, the Swami, a former Sivagiri mutt chief, had serious differences with V. Natesan, a Hindu Ezhava leader and general secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Sangom who has recently moved close to the BJP.

Biju Ramesh has alleged that the Swami was murdered on Natesan’s direction. Natesan has refuted the allegation.

Following Ramesh’s claim, the Swami’s sister also alleged that her brother could not have drowned — he was an ace swimmer — and might have been rather killed.

Swami Prakashananda, the current head of the Sivagiri Mutt, said he had always wondered how Swami Swaswethikananda could have drowned.

“I felt that after seeing the place of death and the injury on his forehead that it was not a death by drowning. It seems everyone wants a fresh probe. If the government wants one, it should announce it,” the 93-year-old said.

Meanwhile, official sources said Kerala Police had begun a preliminary study on the scope for a fresh probe.

BJP state president V. Muraleedharan on Monday said the fresh charges vis-a-vis the Swami’s death was a conspiracy hatched between state CPI-M secretary K. Balakrishnan and Ramesh.

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