Heggade refutes allegations of shielding accused persons in Ujire rape and murder case

Dharmadhikari of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade on Tuesday refuted allegations accusing him and his family members of shielding those allegedly involved in the rape and murder of 17-year-old girl in Ujire a year ago.

“In the last 45 years in this post, I have heard people expressing pain they have suffered. For the first time, I went through such pain,” Mr. Heggade told presspersons here, responding to allegations made against him by the parents of the 17-year-old girl and activists fighting for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the crime.

The girl’s parents have accused Mr. Heggade of shielding three persons and also one of his relatives who they suspected was involved in the murder.

Mr. Heggade said that there was no question of shielding any person from the police. “If any person, apart from Santosh (who has been arrested), is involved in it… then the truth should come out. Let there be a CBI probe or an investigation by any other agency. There is no question of interference. We are with the girl’s family in its fight for justice,” he said. If the truth as perceived by the girl’s family has not come out, then it shows the failure of the police.

Mr. Heggade said that it was not right on the part of the girl’s family to drag his relative’s name in the incident. He is pursuing his studies in New York, U.S. The boy moved to New York in August last year and came down for a short visit to Dharmasthala in December. “Entries in his passport and transactions made by him on the day of the incident are proof of his stay in New York. These cannot be manufactured,” Mr. Heggade said and added that legal proceedings will be initiated against those defaming his relative.

Mr. Heggade said that the State government can order an inquiry into the nearly 40 unnatural deaths reported within Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala. “But, you cannot bring in other deaths reported in Dharmasthala village. I am not the head of the village. The government has to look into it,” he said.

About the reported statement that he intended to sue the parents and family members of the girl, Mr. Heggade said, “There is no such thinking.”

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