Mangaluru, Nov 23, 2016: I am a big fan of detective stories and spy fiction, and I am quite familiar with words like CIA, KGB, CBI etc.
Hence I was somewhat excited to learn few days back that there is one more top secret detective agency called ‘KIA’ which we have never even heard of! And this is none other than Kashimath Investigation Agency! Whether this is truth or fiction, I leave it to you to decide after reading what I have written below!
This report was published prominently in a website called as ‘Tulunadu News’ recently:
The accompanying explanation runs like this:
“The Kerala High Court on Wednesday allowed supporters of Kashi Math head Sudhindra Thirtha Swami to aid police in locating former deputy pontiff Raghavendra Thirtha Swami, who is alleged to have decamped with ‘Saligramams’ and other relics from the math in Varanasi. Justice V Chitambaresh issued the order while considering a petition filed by Gurupur Ganapathy Prabhu, the power of attorney holder of Sudhindra Thirtha Swami. Director General of prosecution T Asaf Ali had earlier told the court that a special team has been constituted to nab the swami who was deputy pontiff at the math.”
The ‘report’ went on to say how a saligramam which is venerated object etc belonging to the Kashi mutt is in the possession of Raghavendra Teertha etc. Then, that “Kerala High Court on Tuesday made the CBI a party in a case to find Raghavendra Thirtha Swami who has evaded the police for the last few years. Justice V. Chitambaresh issued the order and posted the case to July 7 on an interim application filed by Sudhindra Thirtha Swami. The petitioner submitted that since the police had expressed their inability to find the controversial Swami, a CBI probe was needed. The police in an affidavit had claimed that Swami was changing his hideouts suspected to be in Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and so a CBI probe was needed. The court had also directed Raghavendra Thirtha to hand over all the deities and other articles belonging to the Kasi Math Samsthan to the present Madathipathi. It was pursuant to a High Court order the disciples of Sudhindra Thirtha handed over the address and phone numbers to the police. The state had repeatedly admitted its failure to find Raghavendra Theertha. In September, it had submitted before the court that it had failed to serve a non-bailable warrant executed against Swami Raghavendra Theertha to recover the pooja utensils and other items of the Kasi mutt.”
So there was this massive failure of the state machinery to nab this rebellious swami and hence this entire hullabaloo about the court orders to the newly formed Kashimath Investigation Agency!
But I feel that there is more to this cloak and dagger business than meets the eye. So let me dig a bit deeper and see if we can come up with the real reason why this bizarre piece of news should suddenly surface and remind us that KIA is still in charge of things.
For those not familiar with the story Sudhindra Teertha alias Sadashiva Shenoy was the pontiff of Kashi mutt for a long time since 1944 and had taken a disciple Shivanananda Pai who was renamed as Raghavendra Teertha. Later on he had handed over the post to him and had taken retirement. After Raghavendra took over there were some disputes, later on they fell out and that led to litigation etc. After that Sudhindra took another disciple called Umesh Mallar who came to be called as Samyameendra Teertha. Since Raghavendra had taken away the pooja paraphernalia with him and refused to hand them over they were ultimately recovered by the police. However on this occasion, they left behind some ‘unimportant’ items with Raghavendra, without realizing the significance of those things.
According to speech made by the murdered RTI activist Vinayak Baliga (which was video recorded) the possession of these items confers the status of the head of the mutt and hence Raghavendra was legitimately entitled to be recognized as the next head. A few weeks later Baliga was brutally killed and it is alleged that this was one of the reasons behind the murder.
Coming back to the original story a case was filed by one Gurpur Ganapathy Prabhu the GPA holder of Sudhindra Teertha at the Kerala High court for the recovery of the earlier mentioned missing items in October, 2014 and subsequently the Kerala Police were unable to trace him or the things! So, when the court was approached again this time it ordered the CBI to investigate. Since this premier organization too had failed and expressed its inability to trace the absconder, the case has been now handed over to KIA to find out the whereabouts of this man and recover the missing things.
As I said earlier, if one is not familiar with this acronym it stands for one of the greatest detective agencies the world has seen - the Kashimath Investigation Agency! They have been authorised by the court to spread their net far and wide, not to leave any stone unturned and not to rest until the absconder is apprehended and the missing things recovered!
Looking at it from a dispassionate point of view what is the truth? Which Tuesday and Wednesday were the orders passed? Why is the year not mentioned? Long standing disputes have been there between the two camps and the last activity has been in October, 2016 when Raghavendra Teertha had submitted an application to the Kerala High court for a scheme to settle the dispute of the mutt!
While we have full confidence in the investigating powers of the Kashimath Investigation Agency, we suggest that they also employ their expertise to search for a letter written by the murdered activist Vinayak Baliga which has been missing from the premises of the mutt itself! This letter was written by Baliga to the present head in the first week of March and there are postal records for the same! While the police have issued a notice to him to produce it he has responded through his agents that he does not have the same! We do not know whether all citizens of this country can send their representatives when summoned by the investigating authorities in connection with the probe into a criminal case, yet he seems to be having such a privilege! Since this letter is said be a crucial piece of evidence in the investigation of the murder of Vinayak Baliga who was an ardent devotee of the mutt, we do hope KIA will take that up too on a priority basis! The preliminary charge sheet has been filed and the final one is to be submitted as yet. Hence KIA should speed up its act and discover this crucial clue!
As mentioned below, the present head Samyameendra Teertha has been summoned to produce the letter of Vinayak Baliga which his representatives claim is missing. There is a needle of suspicion pointing at him for having been a part of the plot to eliminate the person who had dared to question him. This has percolated down to the followers of this mutt who are demoralised. Succession seems to be the contentious issue. Sudhindra Teertha passed away in January this year. Though Samyameendra took over from him, according to some authorities, the tradition of the mutt is that the senior most disciple of the deceased pontiff becomes the next head and hence Raghavendra Teertha being the senior of the two, is waiting in the wings to take over!
Again, since the suits have been filed on behalf of Sudhindra Teertha who is no more, his GPA is no longer valid and the litigation also becomes infructuous. Hence now attempts have to be made to keep it alive. Is that the reason why there is this sudden resurrection of stale old news with half truths without proper dates? Why should a report say what the court said on Tuesday, Wednesday and July, October and so on without mentioning the year?
A Google search will reveal that the aforementioned report is recycled from an earlier report published in Times of India and filed by Mahir Haneef more than one and half years back, on Feb 18, 2015 from Kochi. (Click link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/HC-allows-Kashi-Math-supporters-to-aid-police-in-locating-Raghavendra-Thirtha-Swami/articleshow/46291213.cms)
In conclusion, it is clear that the alleged mention of the present head Swayameendra Teertha in the sequence of events leading to the murder of Vinayak Baliga has created panic in the camp and the demonetization of the high value currency too has hit them pretty hard. Whether these desperate measures to get a reprieve will succeed is the question foremost in the minds of those who seek justice for Vinayak Baliga.