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BJP sore over govt ordering probe into Swami's death

BJP sore over govt ordering probe into Swamis death

Kochi: BJP Saturday criticised the State government's decision to conduct further probe into the death of Swami Saswathikananda of Sivagiri Mutt, alleging that it was a political conspiracy by the Congress-led UDF government to tarnish image of SNDP General Secretary Vellappally Natesan.

BJP Kerala state chief V Muraleedharan, who played a key role in building BJP's ties with the numerically strong Eazhava community, also alleged that the government's decision into the incident in 2002 was an attempt to divert attention from a special vigilance court verdict ordering further probe against Finance Minster K M Mani in the bar bribery case.

Noting that Mani is a "pet" of leaders of a religion, he said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala were "preparing a safe exit" for the FM from the bar bribery scam and they decided to divert attention from that case by ordering a further probe into the seer's death.

"So we believe it is a very well planned political conspiracy (to protect Mani)," Muraleedharan told reporters here.

Mani is the leader of Kerala Congress (M) having strong support base in Catholic dominated areas in central Kerala.

"Religious leaders had thrown their weight behind Mani from the very beginning of the bar bribery case. They were the people who firstly stated that there is no need for Mani to resign. So Chandy and Chennithala are acting as per their wishes and trying to put an end to the case," he said.

Kerala government had earlier today announced further investigation into the death of the Swami following a Crime Branch report citing new revelations in the case.

Muraleedharan hailed the SNDP General Secretary as a "voice of the marginalised and neglected" and said the Congress led government was trying to "tarnish the image" of Natesan by ordering a re-investigation into the seer's death.

Last month, Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association Working President Biju Ramesh, also leader of Sree Narayana Dharam Vedi, rival to SNDP, had alleged that the Swami was murdered and that Natesan and his son Thushar had a role in it.

However, Natesan has rejected the charge and said on October 10 that he was ready to face any probe, including by CBI.

The swami allegedly drowned at the bathing ghat off Periyar near Aluva when he went for bathing on July 1 2002.

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