Bengaluru violence case | ex-Bengaluru Mayor R. Sampath Raj held
He was absconding since mid-October after being accused of conspiracy and instigating the mob
A city court on Tuesday remanded former Mayor R. Sampath Raj in the custody of the Central Crime Branch police for two days where he will be interrogated on his role in the violence at D.J. Halli and K.G. Halli on the night of August 11.
Raj, who has been accused of conspiracy and playing a part in instigating the mob to set fire to Pulikeshinagar MLA Akhanda Sreenivasamurthy’s house that night, had been absconding since mid-October.
His arrest comes barely three days after the High Court of Karnataka directed the CCB on November 13 to take steps to trace and arrest him. A special team tracked him down to a friend’s house in Benson Town, Pulikeshinagar, on Monday.
“He had returned to the city after we arrested his aide Riyazuddib who had driven him to a farmhouse in Nagarahole,” said a police official.
The former Mayor had been trying to evade the police net since mid-October after he was discharged from a private hospital where he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19. “He has been on the run for over 20 days, and even hid in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to evade arrest,” said a CCB official.
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, “There will be a further probe. His arrest will expose the conspiracy,” said Mr. Bommai.
Congress MLA Akhanda Sreenivasamurthy thanked the Chief Minister and the Home Minister for “ensuring justice”. “A detailed inquiry will reveal his intentions behind the violence, and I request the authorities concerned to ensure that strict punishment is meted out,” he said.
He added that he had approached Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar twice in the past. “I’ll meet him again,” he said, reacting to Mr. Shivakumar’s comment that he had not approached him.
He also took a dig at Mr. Shivakumar asking him why he was not supporting his case, and thanked Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and MLA B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan for taking his side, exposing factionalism within the party.
However, Mr. Shivakumar said the ruling BJP was trying to unfairly target the Congress. “I have seen the charge sheet. Where is the evidence that the Congress is involved?” he told mediapersons on Tuesday. He also reiterated that Mr. Murthy had to date not approached him. “He is free to come and meet me. I am also with Sreenivasamurthy,” he said.