With the arrest of a former administrator of Sringeri Shivaganga Sharada Mutt for allegedly blackmailing his successor, Central Crime Branch (CCB) officials have recovered from him documents on 250 acres of land belonging to the mutt.
The mutt administration was not even aware of the property, which had been donated by the erstwhile Mysuru royal family and several philanthropists. The prime accused, N.L. Narasimhaiah, 65, a former revenue officer, was the administrator of the mutt for over 20 years till 2016. He was then replaced by S.S. Srinivas Rao. According to the police, during his tenure, Mr. Narasimhaiah allegedly stole property documents and later, he began to blackmail the new administrator, asking for Rs. 15 crore for the return of the documents and deeds pertaining to 30 properties.
Based on a complaint filed by Mr. Rao, the Vidhana Soudha police registered a case, which was later transferred to the CCB. A week ago, a special team of the CCB, posing as employees of the mutt willing to pay the money, trapped Mr. Narasimhaiah and three of his associates in the act of handing over the documents to them.
“It was while we were searching Narasimhaiah’s house that we found documents for 250 acres of land in Ramanagaram, Magadi, Devanahalli, and Tumakuru,” said a police officer. “The accused was in the process of selling the properties, many of which have already been encroached upon.”
Mr. Narasimhaiah and his associates were produced in court on Friday and remanded in judicial custody.
In the light of all this, Mr. Rao said the mutt authorities were now taking steps to protect the mutt’s property. “We will take legal course of action to get back the properties encroached upon,” he said. The mutt administration has also sought the help of CCB officials to ascertain whether Mr. Narasimhaiah had stolen other valuables and antiques donated to the mutt over the years. “We are not sure about the valuables in the mutt as until 2016, the accused was the sole administrator for over 20 years,” he said.
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