A local court has returned the chargesheet filed by police against Kannada actress Jayamala and two others on the ground that it was lacking required documents in the case relating to her claim that she once visited the Sabarimala temple and touched the idol of Lord Ayyappa, defying the custom of the hill temple.
First Class Judicial Magistrate of Ranni, Ramesh, returned the chargesheet to the investigators pointing out that it had lapses since all the relevant documents had not been attached. Besides Jayamala, astrologer Parappanangadi Unnikrishnan Panicker and his Bangalore-based aid Raghupathy were listed as accused in the chargesheet filed last week.
According to Crime Branch sources, the next step in the matter would be decided after examining the court's directive. The actress's revelation in June 2006 had triggered a raging storm and the police probe found that the whole episode was the result of a conspiracy hatched by the astrologer and his aide.
According to the traditon of the hillshrine, women in 10 to 50 age group are not allowed to visit the shrine and offer worship. The charge against the accused was that they were involved in a deliberate and malicious act intented to outraged religious feelings under section 295 of Indian Penal Code.
Jayamala figured as the third accused in which Panicker and Raghupathy were listed as the first two accused. It was in 2006 June that Jayamala dropped a bombshell saying she had, in her prime of youth, entered the sanctum sanctorum of the hillshrine and even touched the idol of the presiding deity. She had faxed her claim to the temple office when an astrological examination of the conduct of the temple affairs, known in local parlance as "deva prasnam", was on under the lead of Unnikrishnan.
The astrologer had claimed then that the poojas and rituals of the srine had not been performed with due sanctity and dedication by priests there were even signs of the idol having touched by a woman. It was after this Jayamala made the claim that she had visited the temple when she was just 18 and she wanted to do penance for that.
With the incident raising a storm, the government ordered a crime branch probe. The inquiry, as part of which the actress was questioned in Bengaluru, concluded that her claim of having tossed into the idol chamber of the shrine by rushing devotees appeared most illogical and implausible.
According to the investigators, the whole episode appeared be the result of a conspiracy to buttress the astrologer's claim of the poor state of temple affairs.