INDORE: High-profile spiritual guru Bhayyuji Maharaj on Tuesday shot himself to death in Madhya Pradesh's Indore district.
Bhayyuji Maharaj was immediately taken to the Bombay Hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Bhayyuji Maharaj committed suicide by shooting himself, according to police and hospital authorities. A large number of his supporters gathered in front of the hospital as soon as the news of his death spread.
He was reportedly under depression from some time. MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had recently offered him a state minister's rank in his government, which he had politely refused to accept.
Bhayyuji Maharaj, whose original name was Uday Singh Deshmukh, had a formidable following in Madhya Pradesh and wielded a considerable influence in the state's politics.
The saint was also very popular in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh too because of his spiritual and charitable works.
His ashram is situated in Indore city and top political leaders including Devendra Fadnavis, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar among others are his disciples.
Bhayyuji Maharaj had announced retirement from public life in 2016. Bhayyuji, who was originally from Indore, had surprised many with the sudden announcement considering his proximity to political leaders in Maharashtra and the Centre.
He was also associated with key Congress, NCP and BJP leaders for 17 years.
Bhayyuji attracted national attention in August 2011 when anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was on indefinite hunger strike for Lokpal bill. When Anna was not ready to discuss it with the Union government, late Vilasrao Deshmukh brought Bhayyuji to hold parleys with Anna.
He had also coordinated with the then law minister Salman Khurshid and Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit and prepared the draft of the Lokpal bill, which was acceptable to both the parties.
He also tried his hands in modelling and was very successful at it.