Karnataka

Mangaluru pub attack: Videos, photos of assault were not brought before court

A January 2009 photo of the attack on customers at a pub in Mangaluru.

A January 2009 photo of the attack on customers at a pub in Mangaluru.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Complainant and eyewitnesses, including one of the victims, in the case turned hostile

The videos and photographs of the pub attack of January 2009 — the wide circulation of which brought the incident to national limelight — were not among the material evidence produced before the 2nd Judicial Magistrate First Class, which acquitted all the 26 accused on Monday.

Magistrate Manjunatha R. acquitted Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik and 25 others booked in connection with the attack.

Chargesheet

While stating the facts of the assault allegedly by sene activists on a group of girls and boys inside and outside Amnesia Pub on January 24, 2009, the investigation officer, in his chargesheet, talks of a few videographers and photographers capturing images. The videos and photographs were widely used in the media, he also states in the chargesheet.

However, these photographs and videos are not on the list of documents accompanying the chargesheet produced before the court on January 22, 2010. They were also not among the material evidence produced before the court during the trial.

The material evidence produced included a copy of the licence granted by the Excise Department for the pub and a copy of the trade licence granted by the then Mangalore City Corporation. The other documents produced were the wound certificate mentioning “simple injury” sustained by Pavan Raj Shetty — the lone injured person among the 15 witnesses who deposed before the court, and a copy of the rules of the pub.

‘Police drafted complaint’

Also, the complainant Rajashekar, who is the owner of the pub, and seven eyewitnesses, including the assault victim Mr. Shetty, did not support the case of the prosecution. While Mr. Rajashekar told the court that he had signed the complaint drafted by the police, Mr. Shetty and six other eyewitnesses denied the assault and did not identify the accused during the trial.

None of the five women, who were assaulted and humiliated in the pub, was cited as witnesses in the case. In the evidence, investigation officer Vinay Gaonker said the injured women left the place soon after the attack. Despite efforts, the police could not trace the girls, he told the court.

Advocate for the accused Asha Nayak said the statements of eyewitness form the primary evidence that had to be corroborated by photographs and videos that form the secondary evidence. “The eyewitnesses turned hostile, while the secondary evidence was not placed before the court,” she told The Hindu.

‘Govt. will study judgment’

Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said the government had asked the Prosecution Director to study the case after getting the copy of the judgment and advise the government on the next course of action.

The copies of the judgment of the 2nd JMFC are yet to be given by the court to the accused persons and the Prosecution Department. Mr. Reddy said evidence was not properly furnished to the court.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 6:46:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pub-attack-videos-photos-of-assault-were-not-brought-before-court/article23230618.ece

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