Mysuru, December 22:- The four accused arrested in food poisoning tragedy at Sulwadi Kichguth Maramma Temple in Kollegala Taluk of Chamarajanagar District have been remanded to 14-day judicial custody.
Prima facie, junior seer Immadi Mahadeva Swami, Madesha, Ambika and Doddaiah are guilty of the heinous act. Police had asked for 4 days’ more to grill them further but presented them before the Magistrate at 3 am who remanded them to judicial custody. They were brought to Mysuru at midnight as the investigation was completed. They were brought to Mysuru Central Prison late night to avoid complications.
The 52-year-old pontiff (Immadi Mahadeva Swami) and three trustees, who manage the Maramma Temple at Sulwadi village in Hanur taluk of Chamarajanagar District, admitted to mixing the food (vegetable rice) with an insecticide before it was served to devotees.
If convicted, the accused face death sentence or life imprisonment as it is one of the rarest cases in which the custodians of a temple have deliberately mixed poison in a sacred offering to the deity.
The victims included 10 men and 6 women. While 8 of them died on the same day (December 14), the remaining 7 succumbed to the poisonous food since then till Wednesday. On Friday, Nagesh, a 45-year-old man admitted in JSS Hospital passed away.
The preliminary investigation into the heinous crime revealed that the pontiff allegedly wanted to take revenge against the rival trustees who took over the temple management following a dispute on building a turret over the sanctum sanctorum.
To discredit and humiliate his rival trustee (Shivacharya), the swami plotted the crime with the connivance of the other three accused, as they both were involved in controlling the temple that draws thousands of devotees and gets offerings in cash worth lakhs of rupees. (MR)