Bangalore, May 4: Home Minister V S Acharya on Monday said the police will give the same treatment to former minister H Halappa as was done with self-styled goodman Swami Nityananda, who has been remanded to judicial custody after slapping criminal cases, including rape.
“We will not discriminate,” Acharya told reporters when asked whether Halappa will get the same treatment as Swami Nityananda is getting. Home Minister further said the Government will not interfere in the investigation and the officers will take appropriate steps as per the law. “We will neither pre-empt or sidetrack anything on the issue,” he added. Asked whether he had prior knowledge of the incident, he said he had heard rumours about it.
State BJP President K S Eshwarappa had said he knew about the incident and that the victim’s husband had met him one and a half month ago.
Eshwarappa said he saw the case as a conspiracy to finish off Halappa’s political career.
“No husband will videograph his wife being raped. In fact, a true and a faithful husband will kill the rapist. It is a conspiracy and prima facie, it seems, it was all done to blackmail Halappa,” he stated.
Eshwarappa asked why the opposition Congress did not utter a word when the then Andhra Pradesh Governor allegedly caught in a compromising position with some women. “Why was not N D Tiwari arrested? Why he was not sent to jail? They (opposition leaders) should understand that such a thing may happen to them also,” he stated.
CID probe into rape charge
A day after State Food and Civil Supplies Minister Hartal Halappa resigned over rape charge, the B S Yeddyurappa government on Monday ordered a CID probe into the alleged incident although the chief minister defended his former colleague.
The State Government is in no mood to bow down to the Opposition demand for a CBI probe. However, by late evening, the police registered a case against Halappa at APMC yard police station in Vinoba Nagar in Shimoga.
S Murugan, Shimoga Superintendent of Police, said the case would be handed over to the CID on Tuesday.
He said the police would decide whether the former minister should be arrested after studying the complaint and verifying the video clippings. The case was filed by Chandravati and her husband Venkatesh Murthy.
The charges that have been levelled against Halappa include the IPC’s sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 376 (rape) and 506, read with 34 (criminal intimidation). Earlier, Director General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh forwarded the 12-page complaint to the Shimoga SP.
According to police sources, Chandravati has not been able to produce any clinching evidence on the basis of which he could be arrested immediately. Besides, the police will have to conduct preliminary investigations before they are able to initiate any action against Halappa. The process may take no less than five to six days since both the complainant and the accused will be examined by the police.
“In such cases, the law does not say that the accused must be arrested immediately. Arrest can be made only if the police finds enough evidence or if they believe that the accused might flee try to destroy evidence,” Singh told Deccan Herald.
The case has been filed almost five months after the alleged incident took place. Chandravati has claimed that she has preserved the clothes she and Halappa wore when she was raped. The clothes could be essential pieces of evidence, police sources said. She has demanded that the clothes should be sent to a DNA test.
The tainted Shimoga leader who strongly defended himself on Sunday after the incident became public, was, however, not available all through Monday. It is learnt that he met Yeddyurappa at the HAL Airport in the morning when the latter arrived from Hubli.
It was Halappa’s first meeting with Yeddyurappa after he resigned from the Cabinet. Over the past 24 hours, Halappa has remained incommunicado, turning his cellphone off and making himself scarce.
The chief minister stuck to his decision on a CID probe even as Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee leaders led by R V Deshpande staged a dharna in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue demanding a CBI probe into the case.
Interestingly, BJP State President K S Eshwarappa told reporters that Venkatesh Murthy had met him a-month-and-a-half ago demanding action against Halappa.
At that time, Eshwarappa said, he had asked Murthy to produce evidence to prove his charges. “But he never turned up,” the minister said.
On his part, Yeddyurappa said the Opposition was out to take political revenge.
“We have already taken the decision on a CID probe that even god will approve of...And the rest of it is left to the people to decide,” the chief minister said.
Asked about the Congress’ demand for a CBI probe, Yeddyurappa retorted, saying there were a number of similar cases in the past which the Congress was confronted with. “How many of them were probed by the CBI”? he asked, adding that he had full confidence in the CID.
Watching dad on TV after 10 years
Shimoga: Now a 14-year-old, Akshay is the son of Sumitramma and Venkatesh Murthy, the man who has levelled charges of sexual assault against Hartal Halappa. Sumitramma is Venkatesh Murthy’s first wife whom he divorced 10 years ago.
Sitting at a neighbour’s living room in Malali village near Thirthahalli near here on Monday, Akshay also watched on television his elder brother whom Venkatesh Murthy took away when he parted ways with Sumitramma.
By the time Akshay was born, Venkatesh Murthy had deserted Sumitramma on the
ground that she was not beautiful anymore. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Sumitramma said her marriage with Venkatesh Murthy lasted two years.
After the first of the two sons was born, Venkatesh Murthy would chide her for her looks. When she became pregnant a second time, he dropped Sumitramma near her parents’ house and never turned up again. Sumitramma said she was shocked to learn that Venkatesh Murthy had moved on to marry again.
According to Sumitramma, Venkatesh Murthy deceived Chandravathi, who was having a relationship with his brother Mukund, into marrying him. “Venkatesh Murthy impersonated Mukund over telephone and called her to a relative’s house where he tied the nuptial knot,” she said.
Venkatesh Murthy threatened Sumitramma against approaching the court while seeking divorce. However, with the support of her brother, she filed a divorce petition and got a one-time maintenance of Rs 1 lakh. A disturbed personal life, appears to have taken a toll on Sumitramma’s health. She has turned chronically ill and her medical expenses run upto Rs 1,000 per month.
“The behaviour of the person who speaks highly about women’s dignity on television is quite contrary to the treatment he meted out to his first wife,” she lamented. Sumitramma, who visited Venkatesh Murthy’s house when her father-in-law passed away, had to face the wrath of her husband and sisters-in-law. “I was pregnant then and was kicked out of the house,” she said.
She alleged that Venkatesh Murthy had lied to their elder son, Nuthan, that his mother had passed away long ago. Nuthan, according to Sumitramma, was not even aware that he has a brother.
Sumitramma dropped out of school when in Standard IV since she had to assist her family on the farm as agriculture was the principal means of livelihood. “I am now a burden for my brothers as I am not in a position to work,” she added. Sumitramma said she was continuing with the drudgery of life only for Akshay’s sake and in the hope that she will re-unite with Nuthan whom she hasn’t seen in 14 years.
Cong wants CBI probe into l’affaire Halappa
Bangalore: The Congress has demanded that the CBI inquire into the case filed against former minister Halappa and and that Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa resign.
The party alleged that the Chief Minister has failed to protect rights of a woman in his home district. It has also appealed the Governor to dismiss the Yeddyurappa government.
Leaders of the party, on Monday, staged a protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue. Leader of Opposition S Siddaramaiah said Yeddyurappa had no moral right to continue in the office.
“It is highly deplorable that the CM and BJP state president Eshwarappa did not take action against the accused despite being aware of the incident months before it was reported in media. If the Chief Minister has any self respect he should resign immediately and go for the elections,” Siddaramaiah said.
Atrocities on the rise
KPCC president R V Deshpande alleged atrocities on women had increased since Yeddyurappa government came to power. He called upon women in the State not to allow any BJP leader enter their homes. Motamma said the Halappa case would prove to be the death knell of the BJP rule. Women of the State should teach the party a lesson in the next elections.
The leaders met Governor H R Bhardwaj and appealed him to take steps to refer the case to the CBI. The party argued that as the Chief Minister had praised Halappa as a “pious” person, chances of a fair inquiry by the CID, which is under the State Government’s control, were poor.
“In the interest of justice, fair play and transparent inquiry it is necessary to hand over the case to the CBI”, the party said. In its petition to the Governor, the Congress said the Yeddyurappa government had “failed in protecting the life, liberty, privacy, modesty, honour and dignity of citizens”. The government should be dismissed on the grounds that the council of ministers had failed in their duties mandated by the Constitution of India.
BJP leaders knew of his shenanigans
Shimoga: H Halappa’s involvement in case related to sexual assault may be a revelation for people of the State but not for BJP State unit and district police.
Top leaders of the party including Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and State unit President K S Eshwarappa were aware of Halappa’s misadventures, but made no serious attempt on their part to control the damage.
Before going public on sexual assault against his wife, Venkateshamurthy had approached BJP leaders including K S Eshwarappa seeking justice. State BJP Spokesperson Ayanur Manjunath has admitted that he was familiar with Venkateshamurthy.
“Venkateshamurthy once met me at a hotel in the city and said that he wanted to discuss something personal. He even said he will visit my house to discuss the issue but didn’t turn up.”
Venkateshamurthy also had met Superintendent of Police S Murugan and told him in detail of H Halappa’s harassment. The SP had assured to take action if a written complaint is lodged against Halappa for which Venkateshamurthy was not willing, senior police officers have said.
The statements issued by Halappa and his bete noire Belur Gopalakrishna indicate that K S Chandravati’s case had already became an issue of discussion in BJP. H Halappa frequently used to state that vested interests have hatched a conspiracy to tarnish his image. Belur Gopalakrishna also had told media persons several times that “a sweet news is awaiting you people.”
Student organisations stage protest
All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), All India Democratic Youth Organisation (AIDYO) and All India Mahila Samskruthika Sangathane (AIMSS) staged a protest in the City on Monday against Hartal Halappa.
The organisations demanded a probe into the alleged rape committed by him and stated that mere resignation did not absolve him of the crime. They also called for his arrest.
They criticised the Chief Minister for calling Halappa a ‘satvika’ saying the Yeddyurappa was giving a certificate of approval to someone who was accused of rape. Around 300 people took part in the protests.