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Former junior swamiji of Siddaganga Math convicted

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JAN. 30. A Division Bench (Criminal), comprising Justice M.F. Saldanha and Justice K. Ramanna, of the High Court of Karnataka on Friday set aside the acquittal of the former junior swamiji of the Sri Siddaganga Math, Gowri Shankar, and convicted him of an offence under Section 377 (homosexuality) of the Indian Penal Code. The court re-listed the case for Tuesday for pronouncing sentence. It ordered the swamiji to be present in person.

The Bench passed the order in a criminal appeal filed by the State, praying for setting aside the order of acquittal of Gowri Shankar by a lower court.

The prosecution's case was that on August 29, 1988, a 13 year-old student filed a complaint with the Kyatasandra Police alleging that Gowri Shankar forced him to have sexual relationship with him (Gowri Shankar) between July 18, 1986 and July 23, 1986. The student was staying in the Math along with other students, availing of free food, education and lodging.

The junior swamiji was arrested following which the Math dismissed him.

A Tumkur court acquitted the junior swamiji on Nov-ember 24, 1998. The State went in appeal to the High Court against this order.

The accused swamiji contended that there were differences between him and the senior swamiji and it was due to this that a false complaint had been filed against him.

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