March 08, 2005

Priest accused of molestation resigns

Express India

Rajkot, March 8: DEVNANDAN Swami has resigned as chairman of Swaminarayan temple in Junagadh. The priest, who was accused of molesting a girl from Rajkot, had handed over his resignation to Radharaman trust on February 6 citing ‘‘health reasons.’’

‘‘Devnandan Swami tendered his resignation to Acharya Rakeshprasad who visited Junagadh on Sunday,’’ said acting chairman Purshottam Thumar.

Following this, the newly formed All-Gujarat Swaminarayan Satsang Samaj called off its agitation against Devnandan Swami. But devotees of the Swaminarayan temple in Bhupendra Road, Rajkot, have asked the Vadtal trust to disqualify him.

Devnandan Swami and his junior P P Swami had allegedly molested a girl in Rajkot three years ago. At the time, both the swamis resided in Rajkot. The charges were raised again following the arrest of Bhaktiswami of Junagadh temple in connection with the sex-on-CD scandal. The issue was taken up by the All-Gujarat Swaminarayan Satsang Samaj which had threatened to launch an agitation against Devnandan Swami on March 11 if no action was taken against him. The Samaj also accused P P Swami of owning properties worth lakhs in Saurashtra region.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2005 05:43 PM