Why did the CBI request an Interpol ‘Blue Corner’ notice against Prajwal Revanna? | Explained

How is a ‘Blue Corner’ Interpol notice different from a ‘Red Corner’ notice? What does it mean for the SIT probe in Prajwal Revanna sexual assault case? 

Updated - May 09, 2024 12:12 pm IST

Published - May 06, 2024 07:45 pm IST

NSUI members hold a poster of JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna during a protest in Bengaluru on April 30, 2024.

NSUI members hold a poster of JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna during a protest in Bengaluru on April 30, 2024.

The story so far: Amid a political storm in Karnataka over grave allegations of sexual abuse against Prajwal Revanna, sitting Hassan MP and grandson of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Interpol has issued a Blue Corner notice against the absconding politician. Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara on May 5 said that the Special Investigation Team probing the case will take Interpol’s help to bring Mr. Revanna back to India.

The MP has been on the run since late last month following the leak of thousands of explicit video clips that allegedly show the 33-year-old sexually abusing multiple women, prompting the Janata Dal (Secular) to suspend him. He is seeking re-election from the Hassan constituency in Karnataka as a candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the 2024 general elections. 

The Karnataka Police have charged him with rape, sexual harassment, and criminal intimidation. His father and JD(S) MLA, H.D. Revanna, is under arrest in an abduction case, where an alleged victim of sexual abuse by his son was kidnapped on April 29.

Watch | All you need to know about Prajwal Revanna sexual assault case

Also Read | Former driver of family releases video statement, says he will submit video documents of case to SIT

What does Interpol do, and how does it alert countries?

The International Criminal Police Organisation, commonly known as Interpol, is an inter-governmental law enforcement organisation which assists and facilitates cooperation between national law forces in 196 member countries to combat transnational crimes. 

The organisation shares information regarding crimes and wanted criminals globally, and provides technical, operational, and investigative support to locate fugitives. It manages a database of critical data about wanted criminals, which member countries can use to trace such individuals.

The agency has a National Central Bureau in all member countries, which is a single point of contact between law enforcement agencies of that country and Interpol. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is officially designated as the nodal agency for India. 

The agency uses a ‘colour-coded’ system to alert and share requests for crime-related information among member countries and global organisations such as the United Nations, the International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court (related to sanctions, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity). Notably, member countries are not bound by international law to abide by Interpol notices as they are entirely discretionary.

Interpol’s notice system currently has eight types of notices. The most common one, the ‘red’ notice, is used to alert member countries about the location and arrest of a person wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence in serious cases. Yellow Corner notices are global alerts for a missing person. Such notices are often published for victims of parental abductions, kidnappings or unexplained disappearances.

A ‘black’ notice is issued for seeking information on unidentified bodies. The agency may warn about a possible threat to public safety via a ‘green’ notice. If a person, an object, or an event poses a serious and imminent threat to safety, an ‘orange’ notice is used. To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals, Interpol issues ‘purple’ notice. The ‘INTERPPOL-United Nations Security Council Special Notice’ is issued for entities and individuals who are the targets of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.

Editorial |Sexual crimes and videos: On the Prajwal Revanna case in Karnataka 

Why did Interpol issue a Blue Corner notice against Prajwal Revanna?

The international organisation issues a ‘Blue Corner’ notice when the case is related to missing persons. Also called an “enquiry notice,” such an alert is sent for additional information from member States about a person, to verify their identity, location, or criminal record concerning a criminal investigation. 

It is different from a Red Corner notice, considering that the purpose of a ‘blue’ notice is information about a person of interest in an investigation, while the former is generally issued against a person wanted for extradition, or serve a sentence based on a court decision, or a similar lawful action.

In 2020, Interpol issued a Blue Corner Notice against self-styled godman Nithyananda, seeking information about his location after he was accused of rape.

As for the sexual assault case against Mr. Revanna, Interpol issued a Blue Corner notice against the Hassan MP after the SIT formed by the Karnataka government sought the help of the CBI for further inquiry. The SIT first issued a look-out circular against Mr. Revanna after he failed to appear before the panel as nearly 3,000 explicit clips allegedly involving him sexually abusing women were widely circulated among voters.

The request came days after the Hassan MP remained untraceable. As per reports, the MP left for Munich, Germany using his diplomatic passport a day after his constituency went to the polls in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 26, and hours before the SIT was constituted. Mr. Revanna’s advocate sought seven days for his client to present himself before the panel.

Also Read | Who allowed Prajwal Revanna to leave the country? Shah and Congress leaders point fingers at each other

The investigating team, however, ruled out the possibility and moved for a Blue Corner alert against Mr. Revanna, considering that the investigation is in the early stages and the police are yet to file criminal charges. The SIT officials told Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that they intend to arrest the accused Prajwal Revanna to expedite the investigation as soon as they receive information about his whereabouts.

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