HC says seer’s plea to sign cheques from jail lacks clarity

PTI, Sep 29, 2022, 8:15 PM IST

Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday said there was a lack of clarity in the request of chief pontiff of Murugha Math Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru to sign around 200 bank cheques from the prison where he is lodged in connection with a sexual abuse case.

The seer, now in judicial custody, was arrested on September 1 under the POCSO Act for allegedly sexually abusing two minor girls studying in a school belonging to the math.

Justice M Nagaprasanna who heard the plea of the chief pontiff directed his advocate on Wednesday to file the details of the cheques, and it was filed.

Today, the court studied the details and found the cheques payable to self.

The court said all the cheques had the payable details mentioned as ‘Self RTGS” (real time gross settlement). Even cheques of huge amounts of Rs 14 lakh and Rs 30 lakh were self-addressed.

The court said there was no clarity in the request as the Seer wanted to sign the cheques to pay the salaries of 3,000 employees of the math and the 150 educational institutions run by it, but the plea, the court found, was odd as all the cheques were to “pay self.” State public prosecutor 1 Kiran Javali told the court that prima facie the submissions made by the accused did not seem bona fide. He requested the court to transfer the plea to the Sessions Court in Chitradurga for disposal on merit.

The High Court said that it was improper to request for self-addressed cheques to be signed by the accused in prison.

It said it had consented to hear the request only to make sure that the math employees did not suffer. The court said it would consider transferring the request to the Sessions Court. The case was adjourned to Friday.

Earlier, a similar request was made by the seer before the Second Additional Sessions Judge BK Komala in Chitradurga where the POCSO case is pending. The judge has rejected the request. So, the seer approached the High Court with the same plea.

The chief pontiff has also been charged under the SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act.

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