Lakshmivara Tirtha Swami, the influential seer and chief of Shiroor Mutt passed away in Udipi, Karnataka on Thursday. He was 55 years old.
According to a News18 report, Swami was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Kasturba Hospital in Manipal on Wednesday, following health complications likely caused due to food poisoning.
The food poisoning was caused after he had food with college students who were at the premises of Shiroor village to plant saplings.
A Times of India report said that before the seer was taken to the hospital, he neglected severe stomachache and didn't take medication, resulting in vomiting.
However, a report in The News Minute claimed that the Shirror mutt seer might have been poisoned, and toxicological samples have been sent to check the theory. Dr Avinash Shetty, medical superintendent, Kasturba Hospital, told the news website that the police has been informed that Swami could have been died due to poisoning.
"We were focused on stopping the internal bleeding and the suspicion of poisoning emerged much later. As soon as we came to know of it, we informed the police," he told the news website.
The Swamiji of Shiroor Mutt, which is one of the Ashta Mutts of Udupi had earlier announced that he would contest as an independent candidate, or from the BJP, if given a ticket, from the Udupi Assembly constituency.
However, he withdrew his nomination papers stating that he was doing so out of his admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He had given the idols of the presiding deities of his Mutt to Ishapriya Tirtha Swami, junior seer of Admar Mutt, a few months ago, for keeping at the sanctum sanctorum of the Sri Krishna Mutt due to his illness.
After his recovery, Swami sought the idols. But the seers of six of the Ashta Mutts refused to hand over the idols and put a condition that he should appoint a junior seer.
This was not acceptable to the Shiroor seer, who even threatened to file a criminal case on the issue on 16 July.