Court directs Punjab to cremate sect leader Ashutosh’s body

Chandigarh (IANS): The controversy over the death of sect guru Ashutosh is likely to get over with the Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday directing the Punjab government to perform his last rites within 15 days.

Ashutosh, who headed the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) sect with its headquarters at Nurmahal near Jalandhar, was declared “clinically dead” by doctors Jan 29 this year.

However, the sect management kept his body in a deep freezer claiming that the sect leader had gone into “samadhi” (deep meditation). No one was allowed to take the body for examination nor any last rites were performed.

The matter was taken to the high court by Dalip Kumar Jha, who claimed to be son of Ashutosh alias Mahesh Kumar Jha, April this year, saying that he be given the mortal remains of his father.

Another petitioner, Puran Singh, who claimed to be the sect leader’s former driver, had also approached the high court, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death of Ashutosh.

In its order, the court directed that a committee be constituted under the district magistrate to work out the performing of last rites of the sect leader.

The Punjab director general of police (DGP) and chief secretary were asked by the high court to monitor the situation.

The sect has properties and assets running into hundreds of crores and there are reports that the mystery of Ashutosh’s death is related to the control of these properties.