The Karnataka police are preparing to arrest prominent Lingayat seer Dr Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, who is facing charges of sexually exploiting minor girls, police sources stated on Monday.
Meanwhile, the accused seer, who spoke for the first time after the accusations surfaced on Monday, promised to abide by the law and extend all cooperation in the case. He is holding a meeting with other Swamiji’s and devotees of the mutt to discuss future course of action. Sources in the mutt explained that the accused seer is likely to surrender before the police.
“Devotees should understand the law of the land. I will abide by the law, respect law and extend all cooperation to the authorities. There is no question of escaping from the situation,” the accused stated.
“There has been a conspiracy against the mutt for 15 years. Until now, it was being carried out discreetly but now it has come out in the open,” he said.
The law is equal to all. “We should find a solution to this situation permanently with intelligence and patience. I have confidence that I will come out clean of all allegations,” he stated.
Also read | Hijab Row: SC Issues Notice To Karnataka Govt On Plea Seeking Stay On HC Order
Karnataka police have lodged a POCSO case against the accused Lingayat seer following a complaint by two minor girls. The victims of the case will be produced before the magistrate and are expected to record their statements under Section 164 of CrPC.
The victims have already recorded their statements before the police. The case has been transferred to Chitradurga from Mysuru where the complaint was lodged.
The complaint has been lodged by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on behalf of the girls. Odanaadi, an NGO from Mysuru, had approached CWC seeking protection of the survivors and legal action against the powerful seer.
According to police, the victim students who stayed at the residential facility of the mutt were sent to the seer’s room on one or the other pretext. There, the girls were given food or drink laced with drugs and seer would allegedly sexually exploit them.
The victims have explained that there are many more girls at the Mutt who are sexually exploited. Considering the clout and political influence of the accused Lingayat seer, the victims have come down to Mysuru and approached Odanaadi NGO for assistance.
The police have booked Lingayat seer as the main accused. An FIR has also been lodged against the warden Rashmi who allegedly sent girls to the seer. A junior Swamiji Basavaditya of the Mutt and two other employees also have been booked for facilitating the exploitation.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had recently met the accused Lingayat seer during his visit to Karnataka and the Swamiji performed Linga deeksha to him. The Swamiji also took part in padayatra demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project and identified with Congress State President DK Shivakumar.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had stated that it might be the result of internal strife in the mutt. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had stated that an FIR under Pocso has been registered against the Murugha Mutt seer and truth will come after investigation.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had stated that the police have been given a free hand to probe this case. Once the investigation is done, the truth will come out. This is an important case and a Pocso case too. A case of kidnapping has been registered in Chitradurga. Both the cases are being investigated by police. Under these circumstances it is not right on his part to talk or comment on this case from the investigation angle, chief minister Bommai stated.
“Let the police investigate the case and let the truth come out. It is not appropriate to speak on the case as an investigation is underway,” Karnataka minister V Somanna said as quoted by news agency ANI.
Let the police investigate the case and let the truth come out. It is not appropriate to speak on the case as an investigation is underway: Karnataka minister V. Somanna on alleged sexual assault case against Chitradurga-based Murugha Mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru pic.twitter.com/fYGXzHnoPd
— ANI (@ANI) August 29, 2022
(With agencies inputs)