Varanasi stampede: FIR against Jai Gurudev leader; will Pankaj Maharaj be arrested?

A stampede at the Raj Ghat bridge on the banks on river Ganges in Varanasi on October 15 had left 25 killed and over 100 injured. 

Varanasi stampede: FIR against Jai Gurudev leader; will Pankaj Maharaj be arrested?

Varanasi: Days after a stampede in Varanasi killed 25 persons and injured over 100, an FIR was on Tuesday registered against the leader of the Jai Gurudev sect.

Pankaj Maharaj was booked yesterday for providing incorrect information to the district authorities about the size of the crowd expected to attend the religious congregation on Saturday.

The sect is considered close to Samajwadi Party chief in Uttar Pradesh, Shivpal Singh Yadav.

Informed sources say the FIR was registered only after Pankaj Maharaja left for Allahabad.

An official said, based on the FIR and the evidence, the spiritual leader may be arrested.

Pankaj Maharaj, a disciple of the late Jai Gurudev Baba, had expressed his grief over the incident but had washed his hands off any mismanagement on the part of the organisation.

He had said that in future he would hold even larger spiritual events.

Several district officials, including the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police, have been transferred after the tragedy.

Also, the Uttar Pradesh government has constituted a one-man judicial commission of Allahabad High Court Justice Rajmani Chauhan (retd) to probe the stampede.

The stampede occurred on the 130-year-old Raj Ghat bridge across the Ganga as the congregation was headed to the event presided by the religious leader from Mathura. The dead include 20 women and five men.

(With IANS inputs)

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