Court records evidence inVittala Malekudiya case

Seven years after the arrest of postgraduate journalism student Vittala Malekudiya and his father Linganna Malekudiya for their alleged links with Maoists, III Additional District and Sessions Judge B. Muralidhara Pai on Monday began recording evidence in the case.

Vittala Malekudiya, now 32 and working with a Kannada newspaper, and his father Linganna Malekudiya, belonging to the Malekudiya tribe, were arrested by the Anti Naxal Force on March 3, 2012 from their house in Kuthlur inside Kudremukh National Park in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada. They were lodged in the Mangaluru District Prison till July 5, 2012, before being enlarged on bail.

The jurisdictional Belthangady Police filed a charge-sheet on January 30, 2016 and named Vittala Malekudiya and his father as accused Nos 6 and 7.

Vikram Gowda, Pradeep, John, Prabha and Sundari, who are suspected to be Maoists, were named accused Nos 1 to 5, with charges under Section 19 and 20 of Unlawful Activities Prevention (UAP) Act and Sections 120 (B) and 121 of the Indian Penal Code. Since accused Nos 1 to 5 are absconding, the court split the case and took up the trial of charges against Vittala Malekudiya and his father.

After a certified copy of the Government Order granting sanction to prosecute Vittala Malekudiya and Linganna Malekudiya under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act was produced October 28, 2019, the court posted the case to Monday for recording evidence of three witnesses.

On Monday, the court recorded evidence of the then ANF Reserve Sub Inspector Sachin Lawrence, who had arrested Vittala Malekudiya and Linganna Malekudiya. Material objects reportedly seized by the police from Vittala Malekudiya’s house produced before the court included a few tea powder packets, pamphlets calling for boycotting elections, a book on Bhagat Singh, newspaper clippings on the Maoist movement, a binocular and a few steel tumblers and plates.

During cross examination, Mr. Lawrence said that mahzar of the objects seized was recorded in the police station. He also said that it was not wrong for a person to possess a book on Bhagat Singh. Mr. Lawrence said that the police used binoculars similar to the one seized from Vittala Malekudiya’s house.

The court adjourned the case to December 23 for recording evidence of two other witnesses who failed to appear on Monday. The court allowed Linganna Malekudiya’s application seeking exemption from his appearance before court for Monday’s hearing.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 2:46:10 AM |

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