Story in brief
- Controversial Raghaveshwara Swami of Ramchandrapura Mutt in Shivamogga faces a charge-sheet whose main ground is his alleged rape of a minor
- Charge-sheet contains serious charges under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) act
IE Current Affairs
BENGALURU: Raghaveshwara Bharati Swami, seer of the Sri Ramachandrapura Mutt in Shivamogga district, has not appeared in court in response to summons after a charge-sheet was filed against him for raping a devotee of the mutt when the victim was just nine years old
The controversial seer who faces criminal charges, and has been under the radar for alleged predatory behaviour.
According to a report in a South India based news website “He is a Havyaka Brahmin – one of the most influential communities in the state— whose members occupy some of the senior most positions in the state’s judiciary, bureaucracy, police, government and equally importantly, the media”
He has not appeared before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Bengaluru on five occasions since he was summoned post the charge-sheet filed against him. The dates of appearance, needed for the accused to plead guilty or innocent before the formal commencement of trial were October 20, November 11, November 13 and December 7. He was summoned for the 5th time, on January 7 (today) where he did not appear again. A fresh date has now been fixed for January 29
The charge sheet states that the victim- the devotee- alleged that she was raped for the first time by the Swami when she was in class 9, when she was approximately 15 years old. She was then forced to marry an employee of the same mutt after which she was raped again by the swami.
According to the COD which has probed the case and filed the chargesheet, she was being intimidated by the seer, and that he was responsible for abetting the suicide of Shyam Prasad Shastry, the brother-in-law of her husband.
According to a report in Newsminuite.com, “there were protests by students, women and rationalist groups in September 2015 calling for his arrest. They had alleged that the police had not filed a charge-sheet against the seer even one year after booking the first case, due to political pressure”
Speaking to IndianExpose.com, the Advocate on record in the case, Adv. Arun Syam said “The pontiff has been unable to appear in court due to health reasons. He is suffering from a kidney ailment”. He also said that in the petition where the dispute of the victims marriage is dealt with, she has not mentioned her alleged rape charge against the swami
Moreover we have raised a legal point. In another investigation (against the pontiff Raghaveshwara Swamy) under section 306, the High Court has granted a stay order against the COD on the filing of the charge-sheet on technical grounds of jurisdiction. The same grounds apply in this case and we are raising it in court.
But this Swami is no stranger to controversy and alleged criminal conduct. Again, according to news reports in South India specific news websites, “he was accused of raping a singer at the mutt in nine different districts of Karnataka besides Jodhpur, Kolkata and Mumbai in 2014. Two years later, a trial court gave him a clean chit in this case stating that phone records and DNA evidence from cloth stains were not enough to confirm the seer’s involvement in the crime”
A charge-sheet, running into almost 1350 pages, accused the then 39-year-old of raping a professional Carnatic singer and a disciple, nine years older to him, for over three years.
Over 100 instances of what has been termed “sexual transgressions” in media reports has 159 witnesses and has details of a suicide (presumably related to the case) underworld threats and DNA matches in semen found in the undergarments of victims.
It now remains to be seen if the pontiff appears for the 6th time so the trial on the child rape case can commence.
IndianExpose has reached out to representatives of the Pontiff and have requested an interview with the Pontiff on the charges of rape levelled against him.