Bengaluru: Lokayukta’s son remanded to 10-day SIT custody

Bengaluru (PTI): The Lokayukta court today sent state Lokayukta Bhaskar Rao’s son to 10-day SIT custody in connection with a bribery scandal that has brought the anti-graft institution under a cloud.

The prosecution had submitted before judge G V Bopaiah that it was necessary for the SIT to keep Ashwin Rao in custody for at least 14 days, to arrive at the truth.

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The image of Lokayukta institution had taken a beating due to the bribery scandal and it was necessary for SIT to obtain Ashwin’s custody to arrive at the truth and erase the disrepute brought to the anti-graft agency, prosecution said.

On the other hand, the defence counsel pleaded that his client should not be remanded because there is no documentary evidence to prove his guilt, except telling the other accused to do “the needful.”

It was also submitted that the very nature of Rao’s arrest raised a serious question because SIT officials were at his Hyderabad residence two and half hours earlier to the filing of the FIR.

Rao was arrested in Hyderabad yesterday in connection with the alleged extortion racket, which has led to calls for resignation of the Lokayukta who has, however, been insisting he would quit only if wrongdoing by his son was proved.

The Lokayukta’s son was arrested based on an FIR filed against him by an executive engineer that he was asked to pay Rs 1 crore to avoid a raid.

Bengaluru: Lokayukta’s son held in Hyderabad

Bengaluru (DHNS): The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing charges of corruption in the Lokayukta institution on Monday took into custody Y Ashwin, son of Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao.

Even as Ashwin’s counsel moved an application in the Lokayukta court here seeking anticipatory bail, the public prosecutor told the court that the SIT officials had taken Ashwin into custody at his house in Hyderabad.

The counsel had moved the anticipatory bail application in FIR no 56/2015. Later, senior SIT officials confirmed that Ashwin had been taken into custody in the second FIR (no 58/2015) registered on Monday morning against him and two others – Bhaskar and Ashok Kumar.

Ashwin’s counsel said the SIT sleuths had knocked on the doors of his client’s house in Hyderabad on Monday morning. “The second FIR was registered at 10:25 am on Monday, while the officials had already taken him into custody before the registration of the FIR. How can the SIT take an accused into custody before registration of the FIR?” he asked.

The complaint in the second FIR was filed by Channabasappa, Executive Engineer with Upper Bhadra project in Haveri. Channabasappa, a native of Davanagere, was raided by the Chitradurga Lokayukta police in 2013 for disproportionate asset.

Even as the case was being probed, Channabasappa came into contact with Shivayogi Hiremath, who was media convener at district Congress committee in Haveri.

According to Channabasappa, Hiremath promised to settle his case through his contacts with Ashwin, Ashok Kumar and Bhaskar. In April 2015, Hiremath and Channabasappa went to Hyderabad and checked into hotel “Sitara”. Later, they were asked to visit another hotel, “Hawana”, at High-Tech city in Hyderabad.

“Bhaskar, Hiremath and Ashok Kumar introduced me to a person in that hotel saying he was Ashwin. The person spoke in English and said, ‘I will look into your case. I will solve your problem’,” Channabasappa has stated in the complaint.

He, however, said there was no demand for money in Hyderabad and he returned to Bengaluru by a IndiGo flight. A few days later, Hiremath called him and said Ashok Kumar and Bhaskar were demanding Rs 20 lakh to settle his DA case.Channabasappa refused to part with money and there was no word from anyone. Channabasappa has stated that he would recognise Ashwin.

“We have taken Ashwin into custody in FIR (58/2015). However, it is for the Investigating Officer to further include him in any case depending on the evidence in hand. Ashwin will be produced before the court on Tuesday,” a senior SIT official told Deccan Herald.

Interestingly, in the first FIR (56/2015) Ashwin is the main accused and PWD engineer Krishnamurthy had given a statement that the person who demanded a bribe of Rs 1 crore had introduced himself as Krishna Rao. Later, Krishnamurthy approached the Lokayukta police stating that the person shown on TV channels (Ashwin Rao) was the one who had demanded bribe. After the case was transferred to SIT, no identification parade has taken place, a source said.

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