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Bengaluru riots charge sheet names ex-mayor Sampath Raj, another Congress leader as accused

Sitting corporator Zakir Hussain named too. Bengaluru Crime Branch claims more Congress leaders were involved in the August riots triggered by a defamatory Facebook post.

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Bengaluru: The Bengaluru Crime Branch has named Congress leader and former city mayor Sampath Raj and sitting corporator Zakir Hussain in its preliminary charge sheet on the riots that broke out in the city on 11 August.

The riots that left three persons dead were sparked by a derogatory Facebook post on Prophet Muhammad allegedly put up by P. Naveen Kumar, nephew of Pulakeshinagar MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy of the Congress. Murthy’s house was attacked too. 

In the 850-page charge sheet filed in a local court Monday, the police have named Raj and Hussain as accused number 51 and 52. Another Congress leader Kaleem Pasha has already been arrested in the case.

Sources in the police said they found several phone calls and messages linking Raj to some of those who were part of the riots. They added that Raj and Hussain were called for questioning on 18 September but did not turn up.

ThePrint attempted to contact the two Congress leaders through texts, WhatsApp messages and calls but received no response.

Joint Commissioner (Crime) Sandeep Patil confirmed to ThePrint that the preliminary charge sheet has been submitted based on the FIR filed by Congress MLA Akhand Srinivas Murthy.

Also read: Murder over love, lust, hatred, deceit — Bengaluru again tops India’s revenge killings list

Enough evidence against Congress leaders: Police 

Police sources said they have enough evidence to indicate that Raj, his personal assistant Arun Kumar and Zakir instigated local Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) leaders to intensify the riots on the day. Raj allegedly used Arun Kumar’s phone to instigate the SDPI and Congress workers to attack Srinivas’ residence.

“Initially the people involved in the riots planned to attack Srinivas’ nephew Naveen’s house but Raj took the opportunity to incite others as well,” said a senior officer, who did not wish to be named.

Arun was arrested on 5 September after the crime branch claimed that he had made over 10 calls to local SDPI leader Muzammil Pasha and others.

The officer quoted above said Arun confessed that it was Raj who made the calls on his phone.

Over 500 people have been arrested in the case so far, and 52 of them have been named as the accused in the attack on Murthy’s house. Another 42 have charged for arson and instigating riots in the city.

Of the 65 FIRs registered in connection with the violence, however, the two main cases, in which provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, were invoked, have been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

‘Book the guilty’

The Congress has not backed its leaders as of now.

Former Ballari MP and Congress leader V. Ugrappa told ThePrint that the guilty must be booked regardless of their political leanings.

“The investigation must be impartial. But there is no doubt that there was a major intelligence failure on the part of the police and the situation could have been controlled much earlier,” Ugrappa said. “In order to cover up their inadequacies, the police are trying to pin the blame on some people. But we are aware that internal differences between some leaders in the constituency was taken advantage of to instigate the situation.”

He added, “Entrust the probe to a judicial commission. This investigation is more politically motivated.”

Karnataka BJP vice-president B.Y. Vijayendra accused the Congress of “being responsible for nurturing anti-national groups like the SDPI in the country”.

“During their rule, the Congress withdrew cases against the SDPI. This gave them strength to do what they wanted,” he told ThePrint. “For the sake of their selfish political mileage and internal politics, they set Bengaluru on fire. People lost their lives. It reflects that the Congress only cares about playing politics for their own selfish reasons even if it means lives are at stake.”

Also read: Want to meet Karnataka CM Yediyurappa? Bring Covid-negative report or get tested at gate


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  1. Give fifty lashes each to each of the accused, and hundred lashes to the people who organised the riots. Problem solved.

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