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Murugharajendra Math defaults on bank loan

Firoz Rozindar
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It borrowed Rs. 32 crore from Union Bank of India

The Murugharajendra Math in Chitradurga.
The Murugharajendra Math in Chitradurga.

The famous Murugharajendra Math, which has remained popular for its philanthropic works, is now in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

The popular math in central Karnataka has become a defaulter for failing to repay either the principal or the interest on a loan taken over four years ago from the Union Bank of India, Bangalore.

According to sources, the math, which runs several elite educational institutions, including medical, dental and engineering colleges, had borrowed Rs. 32 crore from the bank to “develop its educational institutions”.

Now the due, including interest, has gone up to Rs. 52 crore.

The bank issued a public notice on August 15 this year stating that it proposes to auction medical, dental and engineering colleges belonging to the math as part of its assets recovery programme.

Stating that three institutions of the math are in its possession, the bank proposes to recover the money through an open auction on September 15.

The money was borrowed during the tenure of S.K. Basavarajan, MLA from Chitradurga, who was then administrator of the math.

But following reported differences between Shivamurthy Murughaswamy of the math and Mr. Basavarajan, the latter was removed from his position.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Basavarajan said that the money was borrowed during his tenure. He said that it was the math's responsibility to repay the loan.

“The math, which has enormous assets, should have repaid the loan promptly. As it had failed to do so, the bank included the institutions in the non-performing assets list. I feel the math still has enough assets to repay the loan,” he said and regretted that such a situation should have arisen.

Reacting to the bank's notice, Shivamurthy Murughaswamy said that he suspected a conspiracy behind the notice being issued on a holiday, especially when the math had organised a programme to give away the Basavashree award, which was attended by the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The sources said that though the swamiji was ready to sell the math's property in Bangalore and Kodagu, he was facing resistance from disciples who do not want any math property sold.

On the auction on September 15, the sources said that the math would talk to the bank authorities and seek more time to repay the loan.

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