A 45-year-old man, who was undergoing treatment after eating a poisoned religious offering at a temple in Karnataka, died on Friday, taking the toll in the Chamarajanagar food poisoning incident to 16, PTI reported.
Suresh Shastry, joint director in the health department, confirmed the death and identified the man as Nagesh from Marthahalli village.
Meanwhile, the health department has said it will monitor the condition of all the people who fell ill after consuming the offering, The Hindu reported. The department said it planned to deploy health personnel to the villages of the devotees affected for follow-up and emergency treatment.
District Superintendent of Police DS Meena told IANS that 49 of the 90 devotees who were admitted to state-run and private hospitals are still being treated.
On December 14, more than a 100 people took ill after consuming the religious offering served as the Maramma temple in Sulavadi village.
The police have arrested four people so far, including Pattada Immadi Mahadevaswamy, a seer at the Mahadeshwara Hill Saluru Mutt. The seer “connived not only to take over the temple trust but also to defame the existing trust members”, senior police officer KV Sharath Chandra had told reporters in Chamarajanagar on Thursday.
The seer controlled the temple trust till 2017, but was angry after being sidelined thereafter, the police officer said. A woman, identified as Ambika, arranged for pesticide on his orders, and on December 14, her husband and his friend poured it into the offerings while they were being prepared, he added. They had sent the cooks away for the purpose. When the cooks returned and protested about the bad odour, the men told them it was the smell of edible camphor added to the offering, the officer said.
Moreover, the seer was upset with the formation of a trust at the insistence of locals for the expansion of the temple, Chandra had said. “The seer was upset with the formation of the trust without his wish as his source of income almost dried up,” Chandra had said. “Since then, shadow boxing between the temple management and the seer began.”