Life termfor seer, aides

The Second Additional and District Sessions Court on Thursday sentenced to life Shivayogi Shivacharya alias Dharaneesh, (32), seer of Mahanti Math, Mudigere, and his two accomplices, Mohammad Asood, resident of Mudigere and Farookh, resident of Gonibeedi.

Another accomplice, Latish, also from Mudigere, is absconding. All the four had been facing trial in the murder of a woman devotee.

On November 10, 2008, Chandravathi, vice president of Chinniga gram panchayat, Gonibeedu hobli, was on her way to attend a meeting, when she was contacted by the seer at least six times over her cellphone, asking her to visit the mutt.

When Chandravathi arrived, she was murdered by the seer and his accomplices. Her valuables were stolen and her body dumped in a gorge near Lingadahalli in Tarikere taluk. Her jewellery, worth Rs one lakh, were sold in Chikkamagalur and the booty was shared among the accused.

A missing case was booked at Gonibeedu police station. Lingadahalli zonal forest guard Rangappa stumbled upon an unidentified body and informed the police, who established her identity with the help of a few bills in her bag.

Based on the last call received on her mobile, the police cracked the case and arrested the seer and his accomplices and also traced the valuables.

The court has also told the accused to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 fine. It has also ordered that the police be presented with Rs 10,000 cash prize and Rs 25,000, will be given to Yogeesh, Chandravathi’s son, as compensation from the fine amount.

If the accused fail to pay the fine, they will face one-year simple imprisonment. They will face three-year rigorous imprisonment for trying to destroy evidence.

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