Pocso Court Rejects Vizag Seer's Bail Plea in Rape Case
Visakhapatnam: A Special POCSO Court in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday rejected the bail petition of seer Poornananda Saraswathi, who was arrested on June 20, 2023 on charges of sexually assaulting two minor girls in his ashram for over a year.
Disha police led by ACP Ch. Vivekananda registered a case against Poornananda, administrator of Gnanananda Ashram in Venkojipalem area of Vizag city, under Sections 323, 342, 376 (2) f, 376 (3) of IPC and Section 6 of POCSO Act.
Vivekananda said the preacher has been accused of sexual assault on two minor girls at his ashram. One of them, aged 15, lodged a complaint against the seer. A team of doctors from King George Hospital in Vizag city conducted a potency test on the accused seer a week ago.
The POCSO court, ruling on the bail petition moved by the preacher, cited that there is strong evidence against him. Hence, he cannot be granted bail. The victim had identified the accused preacher during an identification parade held in the first week of July. Forensic reports established that the two victims had been sexually assaulted.
Poornananda had previously been arrested in October 2012 for raping a 13-year-old-girl in the Venkojipalem ashram. The victim escaped from the ashram and went to her relatives’ home. The rape incident came to light when a family member of the girl observed that she had not menstruated for past three months. Upon inquiry, the minor girl narrated that she had been sexually abused by the seer.
Based on a complaint from the victim, MVP Zone police in Vizag had then registered a case against the preacher under Sections 376, 324, 506 r/w 34 of IPC and arrested him in October 2012. That case is still pending in the court.
As many as 14 persons have been examined in the 2012 rape case against the preacher at the Mahila Court and VIth ADJ court in Vizag city.