Days after the suicide of a Lingayat seer, Basavalinga Swami, in Karnataka, a 21-year-old woman and a seer of a rival mutt have been arrested for allegedly blackmailing him.
The young woman, an engineering student, befriended Basavalinga Swami and recorded intimate video calls in April, police said. Those conversation recordings are said to have been used by the woman and Mrityunjaya Swami, a leader of the street dog Kannur, to blackmail Basavalinga Swami.
Basavalinga Swami, 45, was found hanging from a window on October 24 in his prayer hall in Kanchugal Bande Mutt, which he headed.
He left a two-page suicide note claiming he was being blackmailed and harassed over some videos.
“An unknown woman did this to me,” the note read.
The man arrested for conspiracy to blackmail him, Mrityunjaya Swami, reportedly wants to return to Basavalinga Swami in a long-running feud. Police also said he wanted to take over the Kanchugal Bande Mutt that Basavalinga Swami had led since 1997.
“The main reason for the blackmail was that these people wanted revenge – there was a dispute between the two visionaries. They planned to trap him in February and filmed the video in April,” said police officer S Santosh Babu. .
During the suicide investigation, the police investigated the calls from the seer and questioned about 25 people before questioning Mrityunjaya Swami and the woman and fellow seer who helped him.
The woman is said to have “captured” Basavalinga Swami “at the request of Mrityunjaya Swami”. The two then blackmailed the seer and pressured him to resign from his position, police said.
Basavalinga Swami had already paid a huge amount to his extortionists.
He is said to have panicked when Murugha Mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha was arrested for allegedly assaulting schoolgirls.
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