Mangaluru, March 6, 2017: News reaching here indicate that Sri Raghavendra Thirtha, former disciple of Sri Sudhindra Thirtha Swami of Shree Kashi Math, who has been evading for the last few years has been taken into custody by the police near Kurnool on the Karnataka-Andhra border.
Raghavendra Theertha in disguise
There has been rumour spreading since this morning in Car Street in the city that the rebel Swami has been detained. He has been produced before the Magistrate and is remanded.It is said that he was on his way to surrender before ADGP Thirumala Rao at Hyderabad. However, the police detained him after identifying him from a CBI lookout notice.
More details are awaited.
It may be recalled that Sri Raghavendra Thirtha has been engaged in a dispute with Shree Kashi Math for the last 20 years. After being sworn in as a disciple and successor designate of Sri Sudhindra Thirtha Swami, he had developed differences with his guru and turned a rebel. Shree Kashi Math is a revered 500 year old religious order of Gowd Saraswath Community. In a fit of rage he had resigned from the order and later dragged the senior swami to court. After losing the legal battle, he had refused to part with certain essential religious paraphernalia belonging to the math and defied court orders. Hence a court had assigned the recovery of the assets to CBI, which had in turn issued a lookout notice for him.
In an earlier instance too Sri Raghavendra Thirtha, whose birth name is Shivanand Pai, had been arrested on October 30th, 2011 at Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. Many of the items including holy idol of Vyasa Raghupathi had been recovered from him at that time.
Sri Raghavendra Thirtha is supported by a minuscule group of followers who are being subjected to an unofficial social boycott by the larger GSB community. In the course of this dispute Sri Raghavendra Thirtha has often projected himself as a victim of manipulation by an hidden coterie among the Kashi Math followers.