Chitradurga (Karnataka): 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, was released from the jail here on Thursday.
The Second Additional District & Sessions Court in this district headquarters town on Wednesday issued an order directing the district prison authorities to release the Seer, after examining the conditions imposed by the HC, which granted him bail on November 8, and verifying the documents.
As the order copy did not reach the officials concerned in time, the seer could not be set free, officials said. He is shifted out of Chitradurga, as per the bail conditions, they said and, according to reports, he is likely to stay at the Math's Davangere branch.
"I will remain silent, there won't be any reaction. I request your cooperation. As court proceedings are under way, I won't speak anything on it... our lawyers should have told you everything, you should have publicised their opinion. That's enough. Let your cooperation continue. Everything will be good in the future," the seer told reporters outside the jail.
The High Court has imposed several conditions for the bail in one of the two POCSO cases against the pontiff, including not to enter Chitradurga district till the completion of the investigation in the cases. He has been granted bail on a personal bond of Rs two lakh and two sureties for similar amounts, and warned not to tamper with evidence or influence the witnesses.
The High Court 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 sexual harassment of minor students studying in the math's school and those staying in its hostel.
The Nazarabad police in Mysuru had registered a case under POCSO and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The case was transferred to the Chitradurga Rural police station subsequently. The accused were arrested and have been in judicial custody since then. A second case was registered after two more students filed a complaint.