The principal accused in the case of suicide of Mahant Narendra Giri, his disciple Anand Giri is talked about in gossips of the nature not generally associated with holy men and women. Soon after his name figured on news television and social media handles as a suspect, Anand Giri’s photographs in flashy cars and foreign locations went viral.
Anand is known as ‘Chhote Maharaj’ at the famous Bade Hanuman temple in Prayagraj. Mahant Narendra Giri had brought him from a Haridwar ashram to Prayagraj’s Baghambari Math when he was 12. He was formally taken into Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani, the ancient monastic order to which Narendra Giri belonged, in 2007.
Anand Giri boasts of having formally studied Sanskrit grammar, Ayurveda and graduated from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, before completing his PhD in Yoga Tantra.
He is known to prefer a fancy lifestyle and his photograph went viral on social media some time ago, showing him travelling abroad in business class. The controversy erupted when a glass near him was captured in the photograph that many had claimed was liquor but Anand Giri had later claimed it was apple juice.
Mahant Narendra and Anand were embroiled in a bitter property dispute, with Anand opposing his guru’s decision to sell land of the Baghambari mutt. Things came to a head when Giri accused him of financial irregularities. “The Akhara Parishad chief suspected that Anand had used mutt money to build his own ashram in Haridwar,” said a seer.
Anand Giri has been accused also of continuing to have connections with his family in violation of the set norms of conduct for sannyasis.
In 2019, the self-proclaimed spiritual and yoga guru was arrested in Australia’s Sydney for allegedly sexually assaulting two women during prayer meetings.
It was Narendra Giri who had confirmed Anand Giri’s arrest over alleged charges of sexual assault.
Anand was arrested from the western suburb of Oxley Park in Sydney in connection with charges of two counts of indecency on two women in separate incidents.
The Daily Mail had reported that Anand Giri assaulted the first woman at her residence in Rooty Hill of Sydney West in 2016, where he was called to pray on New Year. Australian police said Anand Giri assaulted the 29-year-old woman in her bedroom.
Two years later, he was invited for a night-long prayer at another house in November 2018. Anand Giri and the 34-year-old woman were praying in the lounge in her home when he made indecent advances towards her. He knew both the women, Sydney Police said.
Giri was denied bail by Paramatta Court and remanded to further custody to reappear before Mt Druitt Local Court on June 26.
Helplines for suicide-prone individuals, their kin and friends:
Aasra (Mumbai) 022-27546669
Sneha (Chennai) 044-24640050
Sumaitri (Delhi) 011-23389090
Cooj (Goa) 0832- 2252525
Jeevan (Jamshedpur) 065-76453841
Pratheeksha (Kochi) 048-42448830
Maithri (Kochi) 0484-2540530
Roshni (Hyderabad) 040-66202000
Lifeline 033-64643267 (Kolkata)