Shiroor seer dead, poisoning suspected

Lakshmivara Tirtha Swami of Shiroor Mutt — one of the Ashta Mutts of Udupi — died at the Kasturba Hospital in Manipal on Thursday morning amid “suspicion of poisoning”.

The 55-year-old seer, a controversial figure who had a running battle with six of the Ashta Mutts, was admitted to the hospital in critical condition on Wednesday.

The body was handed over to the mutt authorities after a post-mortem and the seer was laid to rest on Thursday evening at the Vrindavana at the ‘moola mutt’ at Shiroor village, about 24 km from here, after elaborate rituals. Thousands had gathered to pay their last respects.

In its statement, the hospital said there was “suspicion of poisoning”, and toxicological samples had been sent for testing. Following this, Latavya Acharya, the seer’s brother, filed a case with the Hiriyadka police. Some said that it was a case of food poisoning after a feast at the mutt.

Laxman Nimbargi, Superintendent of Police, said a case of suspicious death under Section 174C of Indian Penal Code had been registered. “We will investigate the case from all the angles,” Mr. Nimbargi said. The seer was initiated into sanyasa at the age of eight and had performed three Paryayas at the Sri Krishna Mutt/Temple during his 47 years as the head of the mutt.

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