A seer in Karnataka, booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), on Monday broke his silence on the issue, claiming it was part of a long-drawn conspiracy against him, indicated an inside job and vowed to come out clean in a case of sexual abuse of high school girls.
Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the chief pontiff of Murugha Math, one of the Lingayat seminaries in the State, based here, also said he was law-abiding and would cooperate with the investigation.
The seer addressed the devotees, his followers and mediapersons, who had gathered on the math premises amid speculation regarding his whereabouts, alleged travel to an undisclosed place and rumours of subsequent arrest or detention midway.
Meanwhile, the seer approached the local court for an anticipatory bail. The second additional district and sessions judge- Chitradurga has today accepted the plea and has posted the matter for hearing on September 1.
"Many of you feel Murugha math's pain as yours and I am here for you with courage, there is no situation for any of you to worry. We all will face the situation together with courage, patience and intelligence, and find a solution," the seer said.
This was not the first time he was facing such a situation as such conspiracies have been on within the math for the last 15 years, he claimed.
"The conspiracies that were going on inside all these days are going on outside now. There will be a logical end to all issues, I need your cooperation in finding that logical end," he said.
There were some media reports earlier in the day that the seer was on his way to an undisclosed location and that his car was stopped midway near Bankapura in Haveri district, and was asked to return.
There were also reports of his arrest or detention, following which a math official clarified that it was not the case and that the seer had gone to Haveri to meet an advocate and would return by afternoon. The seer addressed the gathering on his return to math.
Stating he is a "Mathadeesha or a Peethadeesha" (pontiff of a seminary) who respects law of the land and extends all kinds of cooperation, the pontiff said there will be no "escapism" on his part.
"There is no need for any speculations as I am firm in my thoughts," he said and requested the devotees not to heed to any kind of rumours or speculation.
Pointing out that the Murugha Math had long ago even functioned as a court to those who approached it for justice, he said an "unhealthy situation" has come up now.
"I'm confident about coming out clean... there is no need for anyone to be impatient," he said, amid cheering devotees.
Without naming anyone, apparently the alleged conspirators, he remarked, "my salute to those who have been the cause for this fountain of goodwill that I'm seeing in favour of Murugha seer and the math." The Mysuru city police on Saturday filed an FIR against the seer under the POCSO Act and certain sections of the Indian Penal Code for the alleged sexual abuse.
The FIR was registered against a total of five people, including the warden of the monastery's hostel, based on the complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit.
Two girls had approached a non-governmental organisation in Mysuru and narrated the alleged abuse following which it approached the authorities and the case was registered by the police.
The case was subsequently shifted to Chitradurga. Murugha Math Advisory Committee member N B Vishwanath had earlier said the charges against the pontiff were "far from the truth".
He had also alleged that the math's administrative officer S K Basavarajan, a former MLA, was behind the charge.
A case of sexual harassment and kidnapping has been registered against Basavarajan in Chitradurga on a complaint by a woman, who is said to be a staff at the seminary.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, in response to a question on the case, said the legal process would follow.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)