Chitradurga Murugha mutt seer detained in POCSO case; Bommai refuses to comment
The pontiff was taken into custody near Bankapur in Haveri district on the national highway when he was reportedly travelling to Maharashtra
The Chitradurga Police on Monday detained Murugha Mutt seer Shivamurthy Sharanaru after two girls accused him of sexual assault. An FIR was lodged against the seer under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO).
The pontiff was taken into custody near Bankapur in Haveri district on the national highway when he was reportedly travelling to Maharashtra.
An FIR was registered against five people, including the warden of the monastery’s hostel, based on a complaint by an officer of the district child protection unit.
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday declined to comment on the allegations against the seer and the case as “the investigation is on”.
“This is an important case – under POCSO Act and also a kidnap case in Chitradurga...the police have registered both the cases and investigations are on. In such a situation, making comments or interpreting the case is not good for investigation,” Bommai told reporters. “The police have complete freedom... They will investigate and the truth will come out.”
The girls are said to have approached ‘Odanadi Seva Samsthe’, a non-governmental organisation based in Mysuru, and shared during counselling the horrors of the alleged abuse they endured, following which the NGO approached the authorities and registered a case with the police. Later, the case was transferred to the Chitradurga Rural police station.
Reacting to the complaint in Chitradurga, Murugha Mutt advisory committee member NB Vishwanath said the charges against the pontiff were “far from the truth”. He also alleged that the mutt’s administrative officer SK Basavarajan, a former MLA, was behind the case.
Earlier, former chief minister BS Yediyurappa backed Shivamurthy Sharanaru and claimed that the charges were false. “It is a false charge. There is no truth in it and after the completion of the investigation, he will come out clean,” Yediyurappa said.