The police here have arrested two persons on charges of involvement in the murder of Govardharn, a taxi driver, who was found dead near Padubidri on August 29.
This comes just a few days after the police were taken to task by the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission chairperson S.R. Nayak for the delay in the investigation.
Police Commissioner Seemant Kumar Singh told presspersons on Thursday that Mahantesh Honnappa Annigeri (26) of Savanur in Haveri district and Somashekar (29) of Hosadurga taluk in Chitradurga district were the arrested persons. He said the two, who worked as tipper lorry drivers, had committed the crime for money, he said.
Mr. Singh said the accused had been dismissed by their employers and were in need of money. “They were among the 30 persons questioned by the police. They have confessed to their crime. We have collected material evidence against the accused,” he said and refused to give any more details. “We are not revealing it as will help the accused in building their defence. But the evidence we have gathered is sufficient to prove their guilt,” he said.
The service of Govardhan was hired by a few persons from the taxi stand near KSRTC bus stand on August 25. He went missing after reaching Karkala and a complaint was filed by his brother at the Urwa Police Station. Govardhan's body was found near Padubidri on the Karkala-Belmannu road.
The Dalit organisations held demonstrations against the delay in the investigation of the Govardhan's murder. They gave a representation to Mr. Nayak on September 24.
Agreeing that there was delay in finding the accused, Mr. Singh said this was because the police did not want an innocent person to be caught. “We were searching for proper evidence against the accused,” he said. The police worked on several angles, including the fact that Govardhan went missing a day earlier to the date on which the case he had filed under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the owner of a transport agency was coming up before the court. “But we did not find any evidence in this regard,” he said.
The meeting he and his officers had with Govardhan's family members helped police in getting the background information, Mr. Singh said.
Mr. Singh did not agree that the investigation had been hampered because of closed-circuit television camera installed near the taxi stand was not working. “The CCTV was installed at that point last month. The CCTV footage is an aid to investigation. There are other reasons for the delay,” Mr. Singh said.
Mr. Singh said the police were yet to make headway in the investigation into the murder of 35-year-old Razia (35) and her daughter Fathima Zua (8) in Panjimogaru on June 28. “We have got some definite clues. We are making efforts to crack the case,” he added.