Karnataka seer Lakshmivara Teertha passed away Thursday morning (19 July) in a hospital in Udupi district's Manipal. It is suspected that he might have died due to poisoning. The police have registered a case and have begun investigation. The 54-year-old pontiff was the head of the Shirur Mutt in Udupi. The seer had filed nomination papers as an independent to contest state Assembly elections from Udupi constituency this year but later withdrew. Earlier, he had hoped to get a BJP ticket.

Dr Avinash S, Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, said "He had internal bleeding and low BP and he passed away this morning around 8:30 am. There are doubts of poisoning. We have informed the police."

The Shirur Mutt is one of the eight seminaries in Udupi that are popularly known as the Ashta Matas. The pontiff wanted to get back the idol of Lord Krishna from the Udupi Krishna Mutta which is the head seminary. He had allegedly threatened to file a case to get the idol back.

Reacting to the suspicions surrounding the seer’s death, the Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara said, "It is unfortunate that Swamiji has expired. Under what circumstances he has died, we do not know. Some of his followers are raising questions over his sudden death. Therefore, we will order a probe."