Madurai: The senior pontiff of a 1,500-year-old Saivite Mutt, who sacked self-styled controversial godman Nithyananda as his successor, on Sunday said the trust formed jointly by them had been dissolved. "The Madurai Adheenam Trust has been dissolved in the backdrop of HR& CE department stating before the Principal Sub court here it was set up without obtaining its permission and the Mutt's objective was to take control and manage property worth more than Rs 1,000 crore," Sri Arunagirinathar, the 292nd head of Madurai Adheenam, told reporters.
He said the honour and prestige of the Mutt in which great saints, including Tirugnanasambandhar had been pontiffs had now been restored with the dismissal of Nithyanandha. "There is no need for continuing with the Trust," he said.
To a question, he said it was not possible for Nithyanandha to dismiss him, even if he wanted to. "The senior incumbent pontiff cannot be dismissed by a junior". Mutt officials said the Adheenam had been receiving congratulatory messages from all over the state since Saturday following the October 19 dismissal of Nithyananda.
The self-styled godman was sacked by his senior at a 1500-year-old Madurai Mutt on Saturday following charges of rape and sexual exploitation.
They said customs introduced by Nithyanandha had also been stopped and all articles brought by him, including fitness equipment, removed from the premises. Women disciples had also been asked to leave, they said.
Nithyananda's appointment had attracted widespread condemnation from various quarters, including the government. His dismissal followed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department moving a local court seeking removal of Arunagirinathar himself and opposing Nithyananda's appointment holding that it violated rules and mutt traditions.
The Madras High Court had also reserved orders on October 19 on a batch of petitions seeking removal of Nithyananda. Nithyananda is facing charges of rape and criminal intimidation levelled against him in 2010 after some TV channels telecast purported video footage of him in a compromising position with an actress, leading to his arrest. He was subsequently released on bail.