A court in Udupi on Friday sentenced 37-year-old Athul Rao alias B. Athulrama to one year simple imprisonment on finding him guilty of using a forged driving licence and carrying out other fraudulent acts to cause damage and cheat former Udupi MLA K. Raghupati Bhat’s wife the late Padmapriya and also Mr. Bhat.
Padmapriya went absconding from Udupi and was later found dead in a flat in a residential apartment in Dwarka in Uttar Pradesh in 2008.
According to the chargesheet filed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Special Enquiries, Corps of Detectives, Athul Rao, a close friend of Mr. Bhat, was charged of furnishing a wrong address to obtain in his name the registered agreement of rent of the flat in Dwarka. This rent agreement was then used by him to open a bank account in Dwarka.
Athul Rao was also charged with forging the duplicate driving licence of his wife S.P. Meera to show it as the driving licence of Padmapriya. This forged licence was used by him to take Padmapriya to Delhi on a flight on June 11, 2008, and accommodate her in the flat in Dwarka
Holding that the prosecution proved that Athul Rao has created/forged documents and used it as genuine ones to cheat family members of Mr. Bhat, P.R. Yogesh, Additional Senior Civil Judge and Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Udupi, on Friday, sentenced Athul Rao to one year simple imprisonment and imposed a fine of ₹5,000 for the offence punishable under Section 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) of Indian Penal Code. He was also sentenced to six months and fined ₹5,000 each for offences punishable under Sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 417 (cheating) of IPC. Sentences will run concurrently, the judge said.
Senior Public Prosecutor B. Shivaprasad Alva acted as special public prosecutor.