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Karnataka court rejects bail plea of Lingayat seer accused of sexually assaulting minors

Mangalore Today News Network

Chitradurga, Sep 24, 2022: The Chitradurga district court in Karnataka has rejected the bail plea of Shivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru, the head of the Murugarajendra Mutt, who is an accused in a sexual assault case involving two minor students. The additional sessions and district court in Chitradurga rejected the bail petition of the popular pontiff on Friday, a day after it turned down a similar plea of a hostel warden, accused of abetting the crime.

Murugha Sharanaru

The duo were arrested by the Chitradurga police earlier this month and charged under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The special public prosecutor KB Nagaveni told the court that the seer was an influential person and could possibly destroy evidence in the case. The judge BK Komala rejected the bail plea after considering the objections.

On Thursday, Shivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru was shifted to McGann hospital in Shivamogga over fears about his health, however, he was discharged a day later and sent to the Chitradurga jail with the hospital stating that the seer was healthy at the time of discharge.

The complaint against the prominent seer was filed on August 26 by the Mysuru district Child Protection Unit officer Chandrakumar C. The case was then transferred to the Chitradurga rural police, and five persons accused in the case with the seer, were arrested on September 1.

Two students at Shivamurthy’s mutt, aged 15 and 16, told the police that the seer allegedly sexually assaulted one of them over the last three-and-a-half years and the other for the last one-and-a-half years. According to the complaint, the seer would allegedly call the girls to his chamber on some pretext and sexually assault them. Apart from Shivamurthy, the FIR names as accused Rashmi, a warden of the mutt’s residential wing; Basavaditya, a junior priest at the mutt, lawyer Gangadharayya, and leader Paramashivayya.

The Jagadguru Murugarajendra Vidyapeetha Mutt is a prominent Lingayat seminary, and with political parties hoping to woo the Lingayat community ahead of the Assembly elections next year, it has been visited in the recent past by leaders including Rahul Gandhi, who received the ‘Ishtalinga Deekshe’ from Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru.

Courtesy: The News Minute

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