Last Updated: September 03, 2022, 09:06 IST
Lingayat pontiff of the influential Muruga Rajendra Math in Karnataka, Shivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru, was sent to police custody on Friday by the Chitradurga District Sessions Court. The arrest comes a week after he was booked for rape and under the POCSO Act on the complaint of two minors who stayed at a school hostel that the mutt runs. The hostel warden was also arrested and a court sent her to judicial custody.
Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, heads the Murugha Math, one of the key Lingayat seminaries. The Karnataka government has said that it will not interfere in the investigation in any way in the case involving Shivamurthy, who is a politically influential person in the state.
Both incumbent Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his predecessor BS Yediyurappa are from the Lingayat community. Last month, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also met Sharanaru in the Mutt during his visit to the poll-bound state.
Here are the latest updates in the story:
– Chitradurga district court judge ordered the police to produce prime accused Shivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru to appear before the court and pulled up the police for shifting the Lingayat pontiff to the district hospital without permission. The police sought five days of custody in the case involving the alleged sexual abuse of two minor girls. His lawyers claim he is ill and sought an anticipatory bail plea.
– A magisterial court in Bengaluru ordered the re-issuance of a non-bailable warrant against the chief pontiff of Murugha Math, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanu, in connection with a property-related matter in Kengeri Hobli. The dispute is with regard to a seven-acre property in Sulikere village that was allegedly sold for a price that was below its prevailing market value.
– Lingayat mutt has moved Karnataka District Court seeking a gag order against 46 media organisations in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act case against Shivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru.
– Senior journalist P Sainath on Friday returned the Basavashree award conferred on him by the Murugha Mutt after Shivamurthy Murugha Sharana was accused in a sexual assault case. “I am most disturbed to learn from media reports of the appalling developments involving the pontiff of the Shri Murughamath in Chitradurga, Shri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru. He now faces a case and charges under the POCSO and SC/ST act for alleged sexual abuse of children, specifically high school girls. No words are strong enough to condemn any such offences against children,” P Sainath said.
– Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said police have been given a free hand to investigate the sexual abuse case against the chief pontiff of Murugha Math, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, in accordance with the law. Refusing to comment on allegations regarding the “delay” in the arrest he said, “There is no need to respond to all these talks. I have already said that everything will happen in accordance with law. It is not right to comment on the case at the present situation,” Bommai said.
– Shivamurthy was arrested on Thursday night, six days after the case of alleged sexual harassment of two minor girls staying in a hostel run by the Math was filed under the POCSO Act against him. He was booked under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for the alleged crime and produced before a local court after his arrest that remanded him to 14 days’ judicial custody.
– The Mysuru city police registered an FIR against a total of five people, including the warden of the monastery’s hostel, based on the complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit.
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