Chitrakoot priest shot dead, five booked: Kotwali Police

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A feud over “grabbing the position of head priest” could be a possible motive behind the murder, said a senior police officer.(Representational Image)

THE HEAD priest of a prominent temple in Chitrakoot was shot dead and another person suffered a gunshot injury after unidentified motorcycle-borne persons fired at them in City Kotwali police station area of the district Thursday.

According to the police, the victim, 46-year-old Mahant Arjundas, head priest of the well-known Balaji temple, was shot at when he was going on a motorycle with Ashish Tiwari (22), who suffered a bullet injury on his right hand and is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Chitrakoot. Doctors said his condition was stable.

A feud over “grabbing the position of head priest” could be a possible motive behind the murder, said a senior police officer.

Police said around 8:45 pm Thursday, Arjundas was returning to the temple on a motorcycle with Ashish Tiwari, who was driving the vehicle. When their motorcycle was around 100 metres from the temple, two persons gestured to them to stop the vehicle. As Ashish stopped the motorcycle, the duo fired at them indiscriminately. A bullet hit the priest on the head while a bullet hit Ashish’s right hand. The assailants escaped on their motorcycle parked some distance from the spot, said station house officer, City Kotwali police station, Anil Kumar.

After Ashish informed the police, a team reached the spot and sent the victims to hospital where doctors declared Arjundas dead on arrival.
Anil Kumar added that an FIR was registered against three persons, including former temple priest Mangal Das, apart from two unidentified persons at City Kotwali police station. The other two persons named in the FIR are Raju Mishra and Alok, said police.

Mangal Das had left the temple job after Arjundas took over in 2018.

Chitrakoot Superintendent of Police Ankit Mittal said one person was detained for questioning.