The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday allowed the police to continue investigation against Sri Raghaveshwara Bharati Swami of Ramachandrapura Math as he has been booked for alleged rape, sexual harassment and criminal intimidation.
Though the court initially stayed the investigation for a week, it modified the order permitting the probe to be continued.
The State Public Prosecutor and counsel for the complainant pointed out that the police would be curtailed from gathering evidence against the accused seer as he had been booked for rape under Section 376-2f of the Indian Penal Code based on the victim’s statement to the police.
Even though the court observed that the contents of the complaint and the victim’s prime facie constitute an offence, it pointed out that there was no clarity on the materials available on record at present on any instance of recent sexual intercourse warranting immediate medical examination of both the victim and the accused, as the material only suggests that the victim was sexually exploited from 2010.
In his order, Justice K.N. Phaneendra also summoned that the statement of the victim be recorded by a magistrate’s court in Honnavar after she and her husband were arrested on charges of blackmailing the math and the seer.
The court passed the orders on the seer’s plea for quashing the complaint.
However, the court made it clear that there is a need for it to investigate whether the allegations made against the seer were offshoots of the complaint lodged by the math against the victim and her family.
Also, the court said there was need to examine whether this complaint was made with “malicious” and “ulterior motives” by some others who had tried to extort money from the math by filling “frivolous” PILs petitions.
It said this while noticing the seer’s claim that the victim’s husband had allegedly demanded Rs. 3 crore from the math if it wanted to “save” the seer.
The Court also took note of a series of complaints lodged by the math against unknown persons over the last two months.