The Bangalore police on Wednesday booked Raghaveshwara Bharati Swami of Sri Ramachandrapura Math, Shimoga district, on charges of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation.
The case was booked after a woman, in her complaint to the Banashankari police here, alleged that her mother was sexually abused by the seer.
The seer was booked under sections 354-A and 506 of the IPC. “We will investigate and take up the case under additional sections if necessary,” M.N. Reddi, City Police Commissioner, said.
Quoting the complaint, the Bangalore police said the seer’s followers had allegedly threatened the woman’s mother against revealing the harassment that she faced. The complainant claimed that the family had received many threat calls. She expressed fears of “being harmed” by the seer’s followers after her parents’ arrest.
The woman’s parents were arrested by the Honnavar police (Uttara Kannada) on Tuesday on the charge of blackmail in a case related to the math. The complainant’s parents were produced in the Honnavar Judicial Magistrate First Class court on Wednesday. While her father, a businessman, was remanded in police custody for a day, her mother was remanded in judicial custody.
Honnavar police inspector Manjunath told The Hindu that the arrests were made based on a complaint filed by artiste Chandrashekhar on August 17. Mr. Chandrashekhar alleged in his complaint that he received a call from the businessman. The businessman allegedly abused the seer and threatened that a sexual harassment case would be filed against him if they were not given Rs. 3 crore, according to the complaint. Mr. Chandrashekhar was allegedly asked not to participate in the ‘Ramakatha’ event at Kekkar near Honnavar as part of the seer’s Chaturmasya programme.
Mohan Hegde, executive secretary to the seer, told The Hindu that until a year ago, the businessman was the working president of the math. His wife used to take part in the ‘Ramakatha’ event, but was not invited for the event this year, he said.