RAMANAGARA: The Ramanagara district police have taken three people, arrested in connection with the suicide of Basavalinga Swami of Kanchugal Bande Mutt into their custody till November 5, following a JMFC court order on Monday.
Neelambike, a 21-year-old engineering student from Doddaballapur, Kannur Mutt seer Mrutyunjaya and Mahadevaiah, a retired teacher, are the three accused. The police have confiscated their mobile phones and gadgets from which they have recovered messages and video files.
The police produced three accused before Judge Dhanalakshmi of the JMFC court and sought their custody. The court granted custody till the next date of hearing on November 5.
Neelambike was allegedly close to the Bande Mutt seer and she used to message and call him every day. She hailed from an orthodox family and her parents had no clue about her activities. She introduced herself to the seer by saying that she was a staunch devotee of the mutt and had asked to be ordained as a mutt follower. As days went by, she got close to the seer on WhatsApp and video calls. She recorded every moment on her phone and planned to trap him, it is said.
The police had also detained her parents as part of the investigation and later released them. Her father is a teacher and they were shocked to learn about their daughter.
During interrogation, the police came to know that the Bande Mutt seer and Kannur Mutt seer were involved in litigation over land, which had led to misunderstandings between the two.
According to Ramanagara SP Santosh Babu, Mrutyunjaya Swami had contacted Neelambike through Mahadevaiah and had asked her to make video calls to Basavalinga Swami. Acting on his instructions, she recorded the video calls and shared them with him. The Kannur Mutt seer was blackmailing the Bande Mutt seer and he started to pressure the swami to step down from the peetha. It is also said that the Basavalinga Swami was honey-trapped and he paid a huge amount to the accused.
The district police are conducting the probe from all possible angles and are likely to detain more people in this case.
Currently, both mutts are left without heads, which has left students high and dry. The appointment of heads to the both mutts will likely happen in the next few days after legal consultations.