SC dismisses bail plea by 'Maramma Temple' pontiff

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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea for bail moved by the pontiff of 'Kitcchu Gutti Maramma Temple' at Chamarajanagara district, where 17 persons had died on December 14, 2018, and as many as 164 persons sustained severe health problems due to consumption of poisonous rice bath.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Ajay Rastogi and V Rama Subramanian rejected a plea by Immadi Mahadeva Swamy alias Devanna Buddi against the Karnataka High Court's order denying him bail.

The high court had on September 25 found that there are prima facie materials against the petitioner. It also noted that the prosecution has brought out some materials, showing there were chances of he influencing the witnesses, who are none other than his close associates, if he was released on bail.

In the case, the charge sheet has already been filed. Swamy was was arrested on December 18, 2018.

According to the prosecution, there was a long-standing difference between the petitioner and other trustee of a management committee of Kichuguthi maramma temple.

“In order to take complete control over the trust properties and the committee, the petitioner has hatched a conspiracy with the other accused. A foundation laying function was held on December 14, 2018 by the rival committee members. In order to bring bad name to them and to see that, the rival trustees or committee members are arrested by the police. It is alleged that the petitioner has directed other accused to mix insecticide by name Organo phosphorous to the rice bath,” it said.

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