Controversial spiritual leader Chandraswami, who was close to former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao, died at Apollo Hospital on Tuesday at the age of 66 due to renal failure.
Chandraswami, who was accused of several financial irregularities, recently suffered a stroke followed by severe sepsis and developed multi-organ failure, DNA reported.
"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. He succumbed to the illness on Tuesday at 2.56 pm.
Chandraswami, whose actual name was Nemi Chand, shot to fame as an astrologer.
Chandraswami, a closeted influencer of the Indian politics, was seen as one of Rao's trusted aides and advisers. He built an ashram known as Vishwa Dharmayatan Sanathan in Delhi's Qutub Institutional Area after Rao became the prime minister.
The well-connected godman also faced charges for repeatedly violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. He was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay a penalty in several violation cases registered by the Enforcement Directorate.
He became a spiritual advisor to Margaret Thatcher. In an interview, former foreign minister Natwar Singh had claimed that Chandraswami correctly predicted that Thatcher would become Britain's prime minister within four years and remain there for more than a decade. He also convinced her to wear a talisman, according to this report by Daily Mail.
However, Chandraswami caught the attention of international media when in 1995 reports circulated of him feeding milk to a Ganesh idol.
Spiritual leader Chandraswami passes away aged 66 following a prolonged illness
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 23, 2017
"I had invoked Lord Ganesha yesterday," Chandraswami told reporters, according to Los Angeles Times, after stories of the drinking statues began. "This is only the beginning of godly miracles," he added.
The guru was arrested for alleged connections to organized crime. He has been linked by an arrested gangster to the chief suspect in 1993 Bombay blasts case.
Often mired in controversy, his name cropped up in investigations into the assassination of former Prime Miniser Rajiv Gandhi.
In its report on the assassination, the Jain Commission dedicated a volume to his alleged involvement in the case.
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Updated Date: May 23, 2017 19:50:57 IST