Karnataka Muruga Mutt row: Kidnap complaint against former MLA

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The warden of a hostel allied with the Murugarajendra Vidyapeetha Mutt – who is an accused in a case of sexual abuse of two minors along with the seer of the Mutt – has filed a counter case of kidnapping against the mutt’s former administrator for allegedly moving the victims to a private facility after they left the hostel premises a while ago.

While a sexual abuse case was registered against the pontiff of the Jagadguru Murugarajendra Vidyapeetha Mutt of Chitradurga, an influential Lingayat mutt in central Karnataka, the police in the Chitradurga district have also registered a case of kidnapping against the former administrator of the mutt on the basis of a police complaint by Rashmi, the warden of the school hostel where the minor victims of the POCSO case were living earlier.

The accused in the kidnapping case is a man identified as Basavarajan and his wife Sowbhagya. Basavarajan is a JD(S) leader and former MLA who was an administrator of the mutt at one point of time and allegedly involved in a struggle for the control of the mutt.

In her complaint, the hostel warden has accused Basavarajan and wife Sowmya of kidnapping minor girl students of the hostel.

The Chitradurga rural police have registered a case under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 363 (kidnapping), 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 354 (a) (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 504, 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the basis of the complaint by the hostel warden.

According to the FIR, two students of the Akkamahadevi hostel (run by the Muruga Mutt) took gate passes to leave the hostel – citing personal reasons – on August 24. Later, they were in the custody of the Cottonpet police in Bengaluru. The police officials called the warden to take the girls back to the hostel around 12.30am but since it was late the warden claims to have reached the police station the next day at around 8am.

The complaint by the hostel warden says, “(She) found that Basavarajan and Sowmya had taken those students with them by 5am.”

“Without informing the authorities or parents, from 25 August to 27 August, they kept the children in their custody, and in order to malign the image of the mutt, the accused duo called the warden to share the contact number and address of the parents of the minors and when I refused to share it, Basavarajan abused me. On August 27, at around 6 pm, he called me to his place and lured me with better positions in the mutt, and tried to sexually harass me. When I ignored it, he threatened me saying he was a powerful man,” the complaint further states.

Incidentally, the complaint against Basavarajan was filed on the same day as the POCSO case against Shivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru – the head of the Muruga Mutt – and four others in Mysuru. The Mysuru police, which registered the case, later transferred it to the Chitradurga district police.

“A POCSO case is registered and there is a kidnapping case as well. The police have registered two cases and are investigating the matter. In this situation, it would be inappropriate to comment. The police have full independence to investigate and the truth will come out,” Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Sunday.