Millennium Post

Badrinath shrine chief priest arrested in molestation case

The chief priest Keshavan Namboodiri of the famous Badrinath shrine was arrested for allegedly confining and molesting a woman in a city hotel here and sent on Tuesday to 14 days of judicial custody by a Delhi court.

According to police, the incident took place on Monday at around 4:30 PM when a 28-year-old woman had gone to meet him at the hotel where he allegedly tried to outrage her modesty.

Besides Namboodiri, one of his associates Vishnu Prasad was arrested from the spot on Monday and were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Shreya Arora Mehta who remanded them to judicial custody till February 18 after the police did not seek their custodial interrogation.

The police also told the court that the two were drunk at the time of arrest.

They further said the duo’s custody were not required because they have already seized the case property and no more accused was to be arrested in this case.

‘Their identity is not in dispute,’ the police said.

Delhi Police also informed the court that the accused were apprehended from a hotel in Mehrauli area of south Delhi.

The accused were booked under section 342 (wrongful confinement) and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC. ‘The woman’s father knew Namboodiri as he owned a hotel in Badrinath. On Monday afternoon, he called her and said that he wants to meet her. She initially refused but later went to meet him along with her driver.

‘According to her complaint, when the woman had reached Namboodiri’s hotel room, she saw that there were cigarette buts and the place smelt of liquor. When she sat on a chair in the room, he tried to inappropriately touch her following which she came out of the room and reached the police station with the help of her driver,’ a senior police official said. Meanwhile, Namboodiri was suspended as the chief priest of the famous shrine soon after confirmation of the news about his arrest, Badri-Kedar Temple Committee chief Ganesh Godiyal said.

‘Till the time he is cleared of the charges in a court of law, Nayab Rawal V C Ishwara Prasad will function as the chief priest of the temple,’ he said.

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