The Karnataka Police has issued a lookout notice against Lingayat seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru who is accused in an alleged sexual assault case involving minors.
A look out notice (LOC) or circular (LOC) is issued to ensure that a person who is absconding or is sought by law enforcement cannot leave the country. All immigration checkpoints, including those at international airports and seaports, have received the alert against the seer.
Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru is the chief pontiff of a prominent Lingayat mutt in Karnataka’s Chitradurga.
The Karnataka Police detained the chief warden of the school dormitory, which is managed by the mutt, in the sexual assault case on Thursday amid calls for the seer’s arrest. The police have taken this as their first punitive action in the case.
Two girls, 15 and 16, who attended the mutt’s school were allegedly sexually molested by the seer for more than three and a half years, according to the complaint.
The victims were discovered at Cottonpet Police Station on July 25 after they had left the hostel on July 24. At the Nazarbad Police Station in Mysore, an FIR was filed on August 26 against the Lingayat seer.
The seer, however, claimed that the accusations were a part of a long-drawn conspiracy against him, indicated an inside job, and vowed to come out clean in the case.
Former MLA and member of the advisory committee for the Murugha Mutt, NB Vishwanath, had earlier claimed that the mutt’s administrative officer, SK Basavarajan, was behind for the conspiracy. On the basis of a complaint made by a woman who is allegedly a member of the staff at the Lingayat seminary, a case of sexual harassment and kidnapping against Basavarajan was also filed in Chitradurga.