JANAKPUR, May 25: The Janakpur High court on Thursday ordered the authorities to remand Mahant (chief priest) Baikuntha Das Vaishnav of the Ratnasagar Temple in Janakpur in police custody. He has been accused of forging documents allegedly to sell off land belonging to Janak Hajari Vidhyapith, a campus-affiliated to Nepal Sanskrit University.
The Dhanusha District Court had earlier released him on a bail of Rs 1.5 million. However, he had approached the Janakpur High Court, lamenting that the bail amount set by the district court was unreasonably high. Mahant Das has been absconding since Thursday's high court decision.
Earlier, the Supreme Court, in a separate case, had ordered the authorities to remove him from the post of chief priest of the Ratnasagar Temple. The apex court had ruled that he had acquired his citizenship illegally.
He was all set to illegally sell different pieces of land belonging to Ratnasagar, Birakh Kutti, Tulasi Smarak and more than half a dozen other temples.
Das was also accused of obtaining a Nepali citizenship certificate despite being an Indian citizen. A source close to him claimed that he has bought property in India with the money collected by selling temple property including land in Nepal.
Das and his assistant Binod Sharma, who is currently serving jail time, landed in a legal turmoil while attempting to sell off more than 2 bighas and 11 katthas of land. However an employee of the Dhanusha District Police Office blamed the priest's "connections with people in power" for his ability to walk freely till date.