But Chamarajpet police did not find substance in it, police chief tells court
In a crucial disclosure, the State Police chief on Friday informed the Karnataka High Court that murdered RTI activist Lingaraju had filed a complaint in 2010 with the Chamarajpet police alleging threat from C. Govindaraju, husband of Gowramma, councillor of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Azadnagar ward.
Furthermore, in his affidavit Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Pachau, said the then Chamarajpet Police Inspector Rathnakar had, after investigation, filed a ‘B’ report (case closure) on January 31, 2011, indicating there was no threat perception as alleged in the complaint.
Ironically, the same police arrested Govindaraju last week on the charge that he contracted a gang to murder Lingaraju, who had filed a complaint with the Lokayukta police in June 2012 about councillor Gowramma amassing illegal wealth. The Lokayukta police had raided her properties on November 9. Lingaraju was hacked to death on November 20.
The DG & IGP’s affidavit was submitted before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, which the court had initiated suo motu based on media reports on the murder. However, Mr. Pachau said that Lingaraju had not filed any compliant of threat or had sought protection recently.
Meanwhile, Hashmath Pasha, court-appointed amicus curiae and an advocate having rich experience in criminal cases, pointed out to the Bench that there appears to be an attempt to shield councillor Gowramma as well as her husband as the police neither made her an accused in the First Information Report (FIR) nor had they recorded the statements of eyewitnesses.
Quoting the records submitted by the police before the magistrate, Mr. Pasha pointed out that the police have not seized Govindaraju’s cellphone though it could contain crucial information. Such lacunae might result in the acquittal of the accused, Mr. Pasha said.
How is it possible that the councillor appeared to have no information about the alleged acts of her husband, the Bench asked government counsel R. Devdas, who later clarified that there was no complaint against the councillor and the police had indeed Govindaraju’s phone and submitted details in this regard to the jurisdictional magistrate court on Friday.
Mr. Pasha pointed out to the court the need of law, as exists in some States, to protect whistleblowers.
The Bench adjourned further hearing on the case to December 5 indicating that the State government should appoint a special public prosecutor having acumen and integrity for handling this criminal case.