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Jagadacharya Chandraswami, a controversial godman, dies at 66

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Controversial godman Chandraswami—a close friend of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and allegedly involved in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi—died at New Delhi’s Apollo Hospital, where he was admitted after suffering a stroke, on Tuesday. He was 66.

“Spiritual leader Jagadacharya Chandraswami ji, 66 years old, had been ailing for some time. He recently suffered a stroke and later developed multi-organ failure,” a hospital statement said.

It said “despite all measures” taken by doctors, his condition deteriorated. “He succumbed to the illness today at 2.56 pm,” the statement said. Chandraswami, whose actual name was Nemi Chand, shot to fame as an astrologer.

He wielded enormous power during the regime Narasimha Rao. He was seen as one of Rao’s trusted aides and advisers. Often mired in controversy, his name cropped up in investigations into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

In its report on the assassination, the Jain Commission dedicated a volume to his alleged involvement in the case. Allegations of financial irregularities were often levelled at the long-haired, white-robed self-proclaimed godman.

In 1996, he was arrested on charges of defrauding a London-based businessman. He also faced charges for repeatedly violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.

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