BANGALORE : The High Court on Thursday refused to quash the sexual abuse case filed against Ramachandrapur Mutt pontiff Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swami, and also vacated the interim stay on his arrest.
According to the prosecution case, Anshumathi Shastri, daughter of singer Premalatha and Diwakar Shastri, had lodged a complaint with the Banashankari police against the pontiff for sexually harassing her mother from 2010.
The seer is said to have threatened her with dire consequences if she spilled the beans.
The case was later transferred to Girinagar police. The magistrate court, which heard the application, had directed the police to book the pontiff on rape charges.
The pontiff challenged this order before the High Court. The court asked the police to continue the investigation. Further, it said quashing the proceedings was “not desirable”. The court also vacated the stay on the arrest of the pontiff, observing that the investigation is the prerogative of the Investigating Officer.
“The arrest is not mandatory and it is a judicial process and the accused can be interrogated without arrest, but it is based on the discretion of the Investigating Officer... based on circumstances,” the court said.
Meanwhile, the 30th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court granted 30 days’ anticipatory bail to the pontiff. Hearing a petition, Judge Mudigowdar granted him bail under Section 436 of CrPc and directed him to produce a `2 lakh bond with two sureties.
The judge also directed the pontiff to immediately appear before the Investigation Officer and not to go on a long tour. The seer was further directed not to influence the witness and tamper with evidence. The judge said if any of the rules were violated, the bail would be cancelled.