“He appears to have encouraged the attack on youngsters at homestay”
The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to Kasturi Newz 24 reporter Naveen Soorinje and two others in a case related to the July 28 attack on youngsters at a ‘homestay’ in Mangalore.
While observing that material on record does not project Mr. Soorinje as a “whistle-blower” as claimed by him, the High Court said the material on record “prima facie indicates that he also came to the place along with the group.”
“Instead of preventing such an incident, prima facie he [Mr. Soorinje] appears to have encouraged the happening of the incident and assisted in videography of the event, and thereafter facilitated its telecast in television channels, which has caused greater damage to the dignity and reputation of the victims,” said Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana, while dismissing the petition filed by Mr. Soorinje, who has been arraigned as accused number 44.
“Conspiracy to create fear”
Considering the manner in which the offence was committed and the fear it created, the release of the accused would not be in the public interest, the court said, while also rejecting the pleas of Venugopal and Tharanatha Alva, accused 6 and 7 respectively.
Justice Keshavanarayana said: “Material on record prima facie indicates that accused 44 [Soorinje] also came to the place [‘homestay’] along with the group. Accused 44 had the information. Nevertheless, the investigating agency was not informed.”
The court also found weight in the allegations made in the charge sheet that the entire incident was a result of a conspiracy aimed at creating fear in the minds of the public in general, and boys and girls in particular of Mangalore city, about the group (Hindu Jagarana Vedike) by getting publicity through the media.
“Shared common object”
“Though the petitioners had not actively indulged in the acts of robbery and dacoity, there are reasonable grounds to indicate that they reached the place together, shared common object, and in furtherance of that object, the act was accomplished,” the court said. This act had caused irreversible damage to the dignity of the victims besides infringing, prima facie, the right of their privacy, it added.
The prosecution, in its objection filed against granting bail to accused 6 and 7, stated that the attackers, at this juncture, could not be treated as innocent just because they do not belong to the Vedike.
It also contended that the entire incident was videographed with the help of mediapersons, who had accompanied the group.
Contracts chicken pox
Mangalore Staff Correspondent reports:
Mr. Soorinje was on Wednesday confirmed to have chicken pox.
He was down with high fever and had rashes on Monday night, and was taken to the Wenlock Hospital on Tuesday.
Medical Superintendent P. Saroja said his condition did not warrant a transfer to the special ward, and the hospital had not received a specific request from him. “Chicken pox starts with fever, followed by three days of rashes, and then three more days for recovery. He has been given the required treatment,” she said.