Bengaluru: The death toll in the Karnataka temple ‘prasad’ poisoning incident in Chamarajnagar district rose to 17 on Saturday with the death of a 45-year-old man undergoing treatment in hospital.
The deceased, identified as Rangan, a resident of Hanur, died at a hospital at 3.15 pm, health department joint director Suresh Shastry said in a release. As per the latest update, 18 people are on ventilator and four in the ICU of various hospitals.
Police have arrested four people, including Salur Math seer Pattada Immadi Mahadeva Swami and his three accomplices, including a woman, on charges of murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.
Police claimed the 52-year-old seer and his accomplices had allegedly conspired and mixed a deadly pesticide in the ‘prasad’. 15 bottles of pesticides were added to the prasad while it was being prepared, the police said on Thursday.
“Mahadeshwara Hill Saluru Math seer Pattada Immadi Mahadeshwara Swamy or Devanna Buddhi connived not only to take over the temple trust but also to defame the existing trust members,” a police officer told reporters in Chamarajanagar after the arrests were made.
The seer was in control of the temple trust till 2017, but was sidelined later, which infuriated him, the officer said.
On orders of the seer, the 35-year old woman allegedly arranged for pesticide and her husband and his friend mixed it in the prasad while it was being prepared, he said.
On December 14, 15 people had died and more than 100 others were hospitalised after consuming ‘prasad’ distributed at Maramma temple in Sulavadi village.