Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the chief pontiff of Murugha Math booked for alleged sexual abuse of high school girls was arrested on Thursday, police sources said.

He has been taken into custody by the police following interrogation, sources said, adding due procedures are being followed.

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The Mysuru city police on Saturday had filed an FIR against the seer under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and certain sections of the Indian Penal Code for the alleged sexual abuse. The FIR was registered against a total of five people, including the warden of the monastery’s hostel, based on the complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit. Police questioned the warden earlier in the day.

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Two girls had approached a non-governmental organisation in Mysuru and narrated the alleged abuse, following which it approached the authorities and the case was registered by the police. The case was subsequently shifted to Chitradurga, as it was the place of occurrence of the alleged crime.

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The seer was subsequently booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as well. He had earlier claimed the allegations against him were part of a long-drawn conspiracy and that he was law-abiding and would cooperate in the probe.

Earlier on Thursday, the anticipatory bail plea moved by the seer was adjourned to September 2 by a local court here.

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There have been protests demanding for the seer’s immediate arrest.

Police have made elaborate security arrangements in Chitradurga.