The Mangalore Rural police filed a charge sheet against 44 persons, including two journalists, in connection with the July 28 attack on men and women attending a birthday party at a ‘homestay’ here. It was filed before a magistrate court on Thursday.

The charge sheet mentions Subash Padil and 23 others as accused in the case. The remaining 20 persons, including Naveen Soorinje, a reporter with Kasturi news channel and Sharan, the cameraman from Samaya news channel, have been termed as “absconding”. “We have evidence against all the 44 persons. Hence their names figure in the charge sheet,” a senior police official said.

In the 300-page charge sheet, the police claimed to have found evidence to charge all the 44 persons for outraging the modesty of women, indecent behaviour, dacoity, unlawful assembly, causing grievous hurt and breach of peace. However, police have not invoked provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, which had been mentioned in the first information report. The police have included statements of all the 13 victims in the charge sheet.

Mr. Soorinje said the police were victimising him for beaming the footage of the attack, which helped in booking the attackers. “I was doing my duty by exposing the attackers. It was one among the several attacks that happened in July,” he said.

Mr. Soorinje accused police of framing him in the case. About the allegation in the charge sheet that he was absconding, Mr. Soorinje said: “How is it possible? I was one among the reporters who attended the press meet of the new police commissioner on September 19.”