Mahanth of Sri Swamy Hathiramji head sacked over ‘irregularities’

Mahanth, who was found to be married, was allegedly involved in the alienation of lands belonging to the mutt 

Published: 09th June 2023 09:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2023 10:08 AM   |  A+A-

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Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Mahanth of Sri Swamy Hathiramji mutt, Arjun Das, was expelled from his post based on an internal inquiry carried out by a committee formed by the Andhra Pradesh Dharmika Parishad, said deputy chief minister (Endowments) Kottu Satyanarayana here on Thursday.

Headquartered in Tirupati, Sri Swamy Hathiramji Mutt has land holdings in Chittoor district, Mumbai and other places across the country. It is also noteworthy to mention that the mutt was the administrator of the Lord Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirumala until the formation of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) in 1933.

Speaking to the reporters at the Secretariat, Satyanarayana said that a meeting was convened with all pontiffs of mutts in the State, representatives of Dharmika Parishad and other officials, and a decision was taken to sack the Mahanth Arjun Das for allegedly misusing his powers and causing irregularities in lands worth crores of rupees belonging to the mutt. The committee also took a decision to appoint another person as the Mahanth of the mutt.

Explaining the irregularities, the minister said that Arjun Das was ineligible for holding the post as he was having a family, which violated the primary rule to continue as Mahanth. “Mahanth Arjun Das, who was supposed to be a monk, got married and had children. This came to notice during the internal inquiry carried out by Dharmika Parishad. Also, the committee found his role in the alienation of lands belonging to mutt. On these grounds, Arjun Das has been suspended and disciplinary action has been initiated by the Dharmika Parishad exercising the powers vested under Section 51(3) of the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act,” said Satyanarayana.

He further went on to say that Arjun Das was earlier suspended from the post and resumed office following the High Court orders. “Earlier, AP High Court had struck down the suspension of Arjun Das as Mahanth and had ruled that the State government didn’t have any right to intervene in the affairs of mutt. In order to prevent the lands of mutt from his possession and alienation, we sought the support of Dharmika Parishad. The Parishad will take the responsibility of appointing another person in Arjun Das’s position,” Satyanarayana stated.

It may be recalled that the State government suspended Mahant Arjun Das as the custodian of the Mutt, citing certain irregularities committed by him at the helm of the religious body in January 2020.
Meanwhile, the minister said that long pending dues to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore were released by the Centre towards revenue deficit.

He added that certain amendments were made in the law to deal with the misappropriation of temple properties and attempts to alienate the lands even after the expiry of the lease period.


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