Bengaluru: ‘Missing’ health officer surfaces after 60 hours | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Under pressure from various quarters after he began cracking down against quacks and pharmacies indulging in unethical business practices, a health officer sent his family members and police into a tizzy by remaining incommunicado for more than two days. He switched off his mobile phones and drove for over 800km before making contact.
The man on the move was Manjunath HA, a taluk health officer at Hoskote, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Manjunath, who had gone off the radar around 8pm on December 15, surfaced on Friday morning and told cops that he drove around aimlessly as he was disturbed by threat calls.

Manjunath’s family and friends had approached Hoskote police and lodged a missing person’s complaint. His friend R Gopalkrishna said in the complaint: “Manjunath is a friend of mine. Recently, he had raided Sujata clinic on College Road, Hoskote and seized some material. On the afternoon of December 15, a few men, including Jayaraj and Balu, shouted at Manjunath for raiding the clinic and threatened him to return the seized material. On the same day around 8pm, he went incommunicado as both his mobiles were switched off.”
By Thursday, 10 special teams were formed to trace Manjunath. Since his mobiles were switched off, they started tracking CCTV footage of toll gates in and around Bengaluru. By evening, one team found that Manjunath’s car had passed Nelamangala toll gate on Bengaluru-Pune Highway and headed towards Hassan.
Three teams reached Hassan by night and began a search for Manjunath. Meanwhile, he called superintendent of police, Bengaluru Rural, Ravi Channannavar on Friday (between 6and 8am). “I saw on TV that your men are looking for me. I am fine. I will come and meet you,” he told Channannavar, who directed him to visit Nelamangala police station.
Channannavar told reporters they are probing the matter. When asked about the threats faced by Manjunath, the SP said: “We will take a statement from Manjunath and then proceed with investigation.”
Manjunath said he had panicked after what happened. “A few men threatened me on Tuesday for raiding the clinic. I approached police, who pacified them. But the threats continued and I decided to leave Hoskote,” he said.
He first drove his car to Chikkaballapura and then to Ramanagara before dropping into Mysuru on Wednesday morning. “From Mysuru he went to Nanjanagud and then to Madikeri. Later, he visited Mangaluru and returned to Hassan,” Channannavar said.


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Sagar Biswas

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