Mangaluru: The Mangalore Bar Association held a press meet at the council office on August 1, in connection with the recent assault on young advocate Utham Kumar Rai at the Kadri Police Station.
Addressing the mediapersons, president of MBA, S P Chengappa said that on July 31, junior advocate of M P Shenoy, Utham Rai accompanied his client Sandeep Shetty to the Kadri Police Station to attend a case which was filed by a unknown person through post. “When Utham Rai was inquiring about the case, the Inspector on duty stopped him from questioning and asked him, ‘Who are you to talk in favour of Sandeep Shetty?’ When he replied that he was Sandeep’s lawyer, the Inspector used foul language and assaulted him. When Utham was trying to call his senior from the station to inform about the assault, his mobile, along with his gold chain and wallet, was snatched. Later, three other police constables assaulted Utham on his stomach and chest and put him in a cell. They also threatened to file an FIR against him and have him rot in jail by including him in the Rowdy Sheet. They also threatened to cancel his Bar Council membership.”
He further said that the entire bar council condemns the assault on the young advocate. “If such a situation will arise with an advocate, what will be the fate of a common man? When the news spread, advocates gathered in front of the Kadri Police Station. When the council members attempted to talk, Nagaraj misbehaved with the council members too, which forced the advocates to stage a protest in front of the police station. We have held a peaceful protest and demanded the suspension of Nagaraj from his post.”
“At the beginning when ACP Tilakchandra arrived at the police station, he asked us to compromise on mutual understanding. But we did not agree to his request because today it happened to an advocate. Tomorrow if the same happens with the common man, who will protect them? Later, the DCP of Law and Order Shantharaj arrived at the police station, we really appreciate his patience because he co-operated well with us. When we demanded for the suspension, the DCP assured to suspend Nagaraj but we demanded the suspension order in our hands. With the intervention of the State Bar Council president P P Hegde, senior advocates B Ravindranath Rai, B Ibrahim, Govind Bhat and T S Poojary, the suspension order was issued by the Commissioner. But our advocates were not happy with it. They demanded that an FIR be filed against Nagaraj and according to that an FIR was filed against him at the Urva Police Station under sections 323, 341, 504, 506, 384, 511 and 34 with an assurance that he would be arrested.”
In Utham’s complaint, he has mentioned, “When I went to Kadri police station along with my client Sandeep Shetty in connection with a case, Inspector Nagaraj demanded Rs 10000 to withdraw the case. When I said that the client is very poor and he will not be able to pay the said amount, Nagaraj said that Sandeep Shetty’s friend Karunakar’s name is also mentioned in the complaint and he asked us to come at 5 pm as it was 1:55 pm and he wanted to go for lunch. When I called Karunakar, he was in Kadri and he said he could not come in the evening. Soon after when Karunakar reached the station to meet the Inspector, all the three of us went inside Nagaraj’s chamber but he refused to investigate the case and again asked us to come in the evening. When I insisted him to investigate the case, he pushed me out from his chamber and assaulted me. They snatched my mobile when I was informing my senior M P Shenoy and looted my cash Rs 5000 and gold chain. They also locked me inside the cell and assaulted me on my stomach, chest and slapped me. Later, they handed over my mobile, wallet and watch but they did not give my gold chain and Rs 5000 back.”
Utham has been admitted to a private hospital. Nagaraj has also filed a counter case on Utham Rai under section 353, 341 and 506 IPC.
“We demand the arrest of Nagaraj within three days. If Nagaraj will not be arrested within three days, we will intensify our protest throughout the state. During a meeting recently, the Deputy Commissioner had ordered the installation of CCTV cameras in government offices but it is also necessary to install CCTV cameras in all the police stations and sub-registrar offices. If CCTV cameras will be installed in police stations, all the crimes that happen in the stations will be revealed. The law is same for every citizen, If any police officer, advocate, minister or even the prime minister commits a mistake, the law should be upheld,” he said.
Vice President of Mangalore Bar Association Yashodhar Karkera, General Secretary Raghavendra H V, Treasurer Yatheesha and Senior advocate M P Shenoy were also present.