Dramatic serving of notice to pontiff
By Kushala S, Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Sep 11, 2014, 04.00 AM IST
Ramachandramutt head asked to appear before the IO in sexual assault case
A police team travelled about 470 km from Bangalore to Kekkar in Uttar Kannada district on Friday, without a clue as to where they were headed. Only after reaching Honnavar, just 20 km short of Kekkar village, were the cops told about the assignment. Apparently, the police brass wanted to avoid any information leak about the team’s visit to serve notice on Ramachandrapura Mutt seer Raghaveshwara Bharati, asking him to appear before the investigating officer (IO). He is accused of sexual assault by a singer.
At the mutt, more drama awaited the team. Authorities there made the police wait for more than three hours saying the seer was carrying out a vratha, and would not meet anyone, sources said. But the team dug in, insisting that the notice had to be handed over to the seer personally at any cost.
“We did not want the team to know where we are going. They were merely asked to come with us. Any small leak of information could have created problems for us on the way. Only after reaching Honnavar everyone got to know why they were brought here,” a senior police official who is in the know of the case told Bangalore Mirror.
Raghaveshwara Bharati has been staying in the mutt branch at Kekkar to perform the Chaturmasa Vratha — comprising a host of religious programmes.
An FIR has been registered under IPC Sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation) by Banashankari police on August 27 against Raghaveshwara Bharati, following a complaint by the singer’s daughter. In her complaint, the girl accused the seer of sexually harassing her mother and threatening the family against lodging a police complaint. The seer’s disciples have also filed a complaint against the girl’s parents for alleged blackmailing and tarnishing the image of mutt. Subsequently, the couple were arrested by Honnavar police and are in judicial custody.
The seer has sought time till Wednesday to appear before the investigating officer, as he wants to complete the Chaturmasa rituals.