Karnataka police take Varavara Rao into custody in 2005 case

Varavara Rao at his residence in Hyderabad on November 17, 2018.   | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

Karnataka police on Wednesday took into custody Telugu poet and activist Varavara Rao from Yerawada Central Jail, Pune, in connection with the 2005 naxal attack in Pavagada taluk of Kolar district. Mr. Rao has been in Pune jail since his arrest in the Elgar Parishad case in 2018.

He will be produced before the JMFC Court, Pavagada, on Thursday, officials said. The State police are trying to arrest Telugu poet Gaddar too in connection with the case, and a team has been deputed for this.

A Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) camp in Pavagada, Tumakuru district came under attack, allegedly by extremists, on February 10, 2005, leaving seven dead including six KSRP personnel.

The attack was seen as retaliation for the encounter in which naxal leader Saketh Rajan alias Prem was shot dead in Chikkamagaluru.

Both Mr. Varavara Rao and Gaddar were named accused in the charge sheet along with others. They were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for murder. Both Mr. Rao and Gaddar were listed as absconding, while the other accused who stood trial were acquitted.

An appeal by the State against the acquittal is pending before the Karnataka High Court. K.V. Sharat Chandra, IGP (Central Range), Karnataka said the arrest was made as Mr. Rao was available in custody.

HC reviewed case

Mr. Rao was taken into custody after the State police assured the Karnataka High Court on June 7, 2019 that they were in the process of securing him and Gaddar, cited as accused number 11 and 12, in the charge sheet. They had been declared absconding.

The assurance was given before a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice H.P. Sandesh at a hearing on an appeal from the State, challenging the 2011 verdict of a Tumakuru Sessions Court, which acquitted Nagaraja and 19 others.

The prosecution told the Court that trial against accused number 14 and 42, who were absconding earlier, had commenced.

The prosecution and counsel for 19 acquitted persons contended that a HC decision either way on appeals would impact the trial against others, upon which the court deferred the appeals till completion of trial against Mr. Rao, Gaddar, and two others was completed. However, the Court also asked the police to submit report on securing Rao and Gaddar for commencing trial against them.

Mr. Rao’s wife P. Hemalatha, said his arrest in a case where all the rest of the accused were acquitted, only smelt of a collusion of agencies to harass him further to extend his jail stay.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 5:06:22 AM |

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