Kochi, Aug 12 (PTI): Observing that it is a fit case for investigation, the Kerala High Court today directed CBI to trace Swami Raghavendra Theertha, former deputy pontiff of Kashi Mutt, who has been ’missing’ for the last five years with ’Salagramams’ (sacred black stones) and jewelleries worth crores of rupees from the Mutt in Varanasi.
Justice V Chitambaresh issued the order on a petition filed by the senior pontiff of Kashi Math Swami Sudheendra Theertha.
The court said the seer "remains invisible to the court and the police." As many as 234 gold ornaments embedded with diamonds, rubies, emerald etc used for adorning deities in addition to silver articles are to be recovered, it said.
Observing that devotees across the globe visit the Math to pay respect to Swami Sudheendra Theertha, the court said "this is a fit case for investigation."
"To do complete justice and maintain credibility of the system, a CBI probe is required," the Court said.
The court also directed Kerala police to hand over files to CBI, New Delhi, for tracing the absconding seer.
The court had earlier directed CBI to inform whether it was prepared to take over the probe into the disappearance of the seer.
Kerala Police had informed the court that they conducted searches in three states but Raghavendra, who was involved in a dispute with Swami Sudheendra Theertha over the right to be pontiff, could not be located.
Swami Sudheendra is the spiritual leader of the Gowda Saraswat Brahmins and Raghavendra was relieved of his discipleship in 2000.
The Kerala High Court had earlier directed the police to trace Raghavendra and produce him before the court following a habeas corpus petition in this regard by the followers of Swami Sudheendra Theertha.