Conducted at behest of vested interests, alleges liaison officer

Officials of the Income Tax Department on Saturday raided the Madurai Adheenam, which is mired in controversy following the appointment of self-styled godman Nityananda as the successor to the present head of the ancient religious institution.

Led by their Deputy Director, S. Sundaresan, the officials conducted searches on the Adheenam premises for five hours. The officials also reportedly questioned the pontiff, Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya, who was available at the mutt located on the South Avanimoola Street here.

While the officials were tight-lipped on the issue, they were seen carrying a few boxes into their car parked inside the locked gates of the mutt. The Paramacharya too refused to speak on the issue.

“The pontiff was scheduled to leave for Tiruvannamalai in the morning where a ‘pattabhishekam' was slated to be held in the evening. The raid, conducted at the behest of vested interests, was aimed at disrupting the ‘pattabhishekam',” V. Pandiselvan, liaison officer of the mutt, said. He said several such raids were conducted on the premises of Nityananda Dhyanapeetam in the past.

Following the raid that started at around 8.45 a.m., the usual ‘annadhanam' could not be carried out during the day. Similarly, the pontiff could not perform the ‘guru puja', he added.

The Paramacharya left for Thiruvannamalai at 4 p.m.

The raid could be a follow up to the statement made in a press conference on Sunday by Nityananda that he had given Rs one crore to Madurai Adheenam as donation and a further donation would be made during the ‘kanakabishekam' of the senior mutt head.