The pontiff of the Chitradurga Murugharajendra Bruhan Mutt was arrested on Monday, hours after a Court issued a non-bailable warrant in the second Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act case pending against him.
The Second Additional Sessions Judge B.K. Komala in Chitradurga issued the non-bailable warrant and ordered the police to produce Shivamurthy Sharana before her by Tuesday.
He was in custody since September 1, 2022, and was granted bail by the High Court on November 8 in the first of the two POCSO cases against him, following which he was released from jail here on November 16. After he was set free, the seer was staying at the Virakta Math in Davangere, from where he was arrested by the Chitradurga police today.
The High Court had imposed several conditions for the bail in one of the two POCSO cases against the pontiff, including that he would not be allowed to enter Chitradurga district till the completion of the investigation in the cases. He was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and two sureties for similar amounts, and warned not to tamper with evidence or influence the witnesses.
The first complaint against the pontiff and four others was filed by the 'Odanadi Seva Samsthe', an NGO, in Mysuru alleging sexual harassment of minor students studying in the mutt's school and staying in its hostel in Chitradurga.
The Nazarabad police in Mysuru had registered a case under POCSO and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The case was transferred to the Chitradurga Rural police station subsequently.
The second case under POCSO was registered after the mother of two minor girls filed a complaint alleging that her two daughters and two other minor girls were sexually assaulted by the seer while they were residing in the hostel in 2019 and 2022.
The complaint also alleged that the junior seer Basavaditya and others including Paramashivaiah, Gangadhar, Mahalinga and Karibasappa were involved. Paramashivaiah's name was dropped from the chargesheet in the second case subsequently.