Court calls for records of Seetaram’s arrest

Staff Reporter

‘Though Mangalore court had allowed bail to Seetaram,

he was shifted to Mysore’

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the State Government to procure and place before it records relating to the arrest of B.V. Seetaram, chairman and managing director of Chitra Publications Ltd., which publishes four newspapers.

A Division Bench comprising Justice S.R. Bannurmath and Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda passed the order on a habeas corpus petition by S. Rohini, wife of Mr. Seetaram.

In her petition, Ms. Rohini said the printing press belonging to Chitra Publications in Mangalore was attacked and ransacked on November 17, 2008. She alleged that the Bajrang Dal activists had come to the premises, along with a posse of police officers, and her son was physically intimidated by the police.

First information reports (FIR) were registered against Mr. Seetaram at several police stations, including Bajpe on December 13, 2008, Kavoor on December 16, Mangalore Rural Police Station on December 20 and Mangalore North police station on December 24.

On January 4, 2009, six vehicles with six police officers and 25 armed policemen came to the printing press, along with a convoy of eight private vehicles. Those seated in the private vehicles sported saffron clothes and this indicated to her that they were members of the Bajrang Dal.

On January 5, Mr. Seetaram was virtually dragged out of a hospital, handcuffed and paraded through the streets to the police station. Subsequently, a local magistrate remanded him in judicial custody till January 17. On January 6, 2009, Transparency International, headed by former High Court Judge M.F. Saldanha, had written to the High Court and Inspector-General of Police, Western Range, bringing to their notice the handcuffing incident and other atrocities committed on Mr. Seetaram.

Ms. Rohini said later, cases were registered against Mr. Seetaram at Karkala in Mangalore and K.R. Police station in Mysore. She said though a Mangalore court had on January 19 allowed a bail plea by Mr. Seetaram, he was shifted to Mysore.

She said Mr. Seetaram was now in the jail ward of K.R. Hospital in Mysore and urged the court to direct the State to produce him. She said Mr. Seetaram was being detained illegally though he had obtained bail.

The Bench orally observed that no person could be in jail if he had obtained bail. It asked the Government advocate to procure records relating to the arrest of Mr. Seetaram and the cases he is facing and adjourned further hearing to next week.

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