Mangueshi temple priest on the run after court rejects bail pleas

The police are on the lookout for Dhananjay Bhave booked in connection with the Mangueshi temple molestation cases after the Additional District and Sessions Court in Ponda on Saturday rejected two anticipatory bail applications filed by the priest. Mr. Bhave allegedly molested two women inside the temple in June.

A senior police officer at South Goa district headquarters told
The Hindu
that the accused could not be traced. “He is absconding. We have launched a search for him.” Later in the evening, Shashikant Joshi, lawyer of the priest, filed two separate petitions in the Bombay High Court at Goa, challenging the order of the Ponda court.

Last month, Mr. Bhave was booked in two separate cases under Section 354 (outraging modesty) of the Indian Penal Code, after a student studying medicine in the U.S. and another Mumbai-based woman complained to the police separately that the priest had allegedly molested them by hugging and kissing near the sanctum sanctorum of Magueshi temple, while their parents were busy in prayers.

Before approaching the police, the complainants had even approached the Shree Manguesh Devasthan Committee, which had said that it could not find any dependable evidence to establish a prima facie case against Mr. Bhave, and had advised the victims and their parents to approach the appropriate authority.

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