Junior and Senior Seers of Salur Mutt at Male Mahadeshwara Temple grilled
Hanur: The Ramapura Police who have been investigating the case of suspected poisoning of prasadam that led to the death of over 14 devotees of Kichugutti Maramma Temple at Sulwadi in Hanur Taluk of Chamarajanagar district has filed an FIR against seven persons.
Cases have been booked under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against Temple Trustee Chinnatthi, Manager Mahadevaswamy alias Madesha, cooks Eranna, Puttaswamy, Lokesh and temple priest Mahadev.
Chamarajanagar Superintendent of Police (SP) Dharmendra Singh Meena said that four teams comprising 20 officers, led by Kollegal Dy.SP Puttamadaiah are investigating the case. “The information shared by the suspects is being cross-verified. All leads are being pursued but nothing concrete has emerged so far,” he said.
The Police have also questioned the Seers of Salur Mutt Immadi Vedabrahma Guruswamy and his junior Immadi Mahadevaswamy at Male Mahadeshwara Hills. SP Dharmendra Kumar Meena said: “As is the procedure, both the Seers who have been associated with the temple have been questioned. While Guruswamy took part in the puja organised as part of the ceremony to lay foundation stone for development works, Immadi Mahadevaswamy is the President of the Temple Trust.
Barring three persons — Chinnatthi, Madesha and Poojari Mahadeva who have been taken into custody for interrogation, no formal arrests have been made so far. Both Immadi Vedabrahma Guruswamy and his junior Immadi Mahadevaswamy were questioned separately and the Junior Seer was grilled for four hours, sources said.
Meanwhile, Immadi Mahadevaswamy has denied his role in the poisoning incident. “There is an inseparable and age-old relationship between the Salur Mutt and the Maramma Temple,” he said. Speaking to reporters at the Mutt premises at MM Hills, the Seer said yesterday that there is no division between the priests and the temple management.
“There was a dispute between Bhrameshwara Temple management and the management of the Maramma Temple 20 years back. Apart from this, there is no other dispute at Maramma Temple. Our Salur Mutt has a cordial relationship with the Maramma Temple since 30 years and there is no question of poisoning the devotees,” he said.
On the question why he, despite being the President of the Temple Trust, did not attend the foundation laying ceremony of the Gopura on the day the tragedy occurred, Immadi Mahadevaswamy said that the decision was unanimously taken to construct the Gopura.
“That day, I was to visit the temple but I went there late as there was a large number of devotees at the Salur Mutt and moreover the Senior Seer Immadi Vedabrahma Guruswamy had already left the Mutt for the temple. So I had to stay back,” he said.
The Seer added that he had been to the Maramma Temple late but was told by the devotees not to go there as there was a possibility of rioting following the poisoning incident. “I am deeply shocked by the incident and we have been contemplating to hand over Rs. 50,000 to the families of victims who have lost their lives,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Police have clarified that the death of Prakash, a resident of Chikka Ankanahalli in Srirangapatna Taluk was not due to pesticide poisoning at Maramma Temple. 30-year-old Prakash was found dead on the steps of Hanur Town Panchayat Office on Saturday, a day after the poisoning incident took place.
Earlier, it was suspected that Prakash had consumed the poison-laced prasadam at the Maramma Temple. Examining the post-mortem report, the timing of the death and the timing of the prasadam distributed at the temple, the Police concluded that Prakash’s death was not due to poisoning.
Follow Star of Mysore on Instagram www.instagram.com/starofmysore