K’taka HC grants conditional bail to Murugha Math seer, but unlikely to be released from jail


PTI, Nov 8, 2023, 5:23 PM IST

Bengaluru:  The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday granted bail to Shivamurthy Sharana, the pontiff of the Chitradurga Murugharajendra Bruhan Math who has been in custody since September last year, facing charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Justice Srinivas Harish Kumar, who had reserved the judgment on the criminal petition filed by the pontiff, dictated the order on Wednesday afternoon.

The high court has imposed several conditions for the bail in the two POCSO cases against the seer.

Shivamurthy will not be allowed to enter Chitradurga district till the investigation in the cases is completed. He has been granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and two sureties of similar amounts. He has been warned not to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.

The high court has also said that the seer should not misuse the bail and that if he breaches any of the conditions, it would automatically stand cancelled. The judgment copy is awaited.

The HC on October 13 granted bail to accused number three Paramashivaiah in the first POCSO case against the pontiff and others.

The complaint against the pontiff and four others was filed by Mysuru-based NGO ‘Odanadi Seva Samsthe’, alleging that the minor students studying in the math’s school and staying in its hostel were being sexually abused.

The Nazarabad police in Mysuru had registered a case under POCSO and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Subsequently. the case was transferred to the Chitradurga Rural police station.

The accused were arrested and have been in judicial custody since then. A second case was registered after two more students filed a complaint.

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