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Drama over controversial godman’s death: How long can body be kept in freezer? HC asks

August 26, 2014 | By

Chandigarh/ Punjab (August 26, 2014): Controversial godman and head of Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan or the Noormehal dera, Ashutosh died on January 28, 2014 but his sect has been keeping his body in freezer claiming that he was alive and had just taken a Samadhi (meditation mode). The issue took another turn yesterday when a judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court questioned the Punjab government on its silence over the issue.

Ashutosh 5As a petition filed by a person named Dalip Kumar Jha, who claims to be son of Ashutosh, for handing over his father’s body for performing the last rites came up for hearing before Justice K. Kannan of Punjab and Haryana High Court, the court told the Punjab government two days to file its reply.

Justice Kannan verbally questioned the state on how the body could be allowed to stay in a freezer and for how long.

Dalip Kumar Jha has been claiming that his father could have been poisned in order to grab his property worth crores. He has been demanding post mortem of his body.

It may be recalled that on April 4, 2014 the Punjab Police had “ruled out the possibility of his unnatural death”. In its report, the police had added that the Ashutosh was clinically dead.

In one of the petitions, “disciple” Mohinder Pal Singh and a co-petitioner had earlier alleged that the “managers” were keeping the body in freezer to gain time for misappropriating the properties. They also expressed apprehension regarding misappropriation of property worth Rs 1,000 crore by the “managers”. Their counsel added that the prime concern of the petitioners was Rs 300 crore lying in the Dera.

The High Court had, on the previous date of hearing, asked Punjab Advocate-General to clarify the State’s stand on the issue of initiating inquest proceedings in the case of Ashutosh Maharaja’s mysterious death.

The High Court had directed Advocate-General Ashok Aggarwal to file the state government’s reply on the need for carrying out inquest proceedings. The purpose behind preparing an inquest report under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is to look into, and draw up, a report on the apparent cause of death.

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