Ashwin, Riyaz to remain in jail as top court stays bail granted by HC

Ashwin, Riyaz to remain in jail as top court stays bail granted by HC

Lokayukta extends judicial custody of 4 suspects in extortion scam

Ashwin, Riyaz to remain in jail as top court stays bail granted by HC

In a sudden turn of events, four people arrested in the Lokayukta extortion and corruption scam who were all set to be released from the prison, were remanded back in judicial custody by the Lokayukta Special Court in Bengaluru after the Supreme Court stayed their release on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court stayed the bail granted to the accused Syed Riyaz, Ashok Kumar, Srinivasa Gowda and Shankare Gowda by the Karnataka High Court.

The bond and surety for their release were executed at the Lokayukta Special Court. However, Special Public Prosecutor for Special Investigation Team (SIT) requested the court to wait till the post noon session since the hearing on the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by it was coming up for hearing before the Supreme Court.

In the Supreme Court, a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra allowed the plea made by the SIT that was represented by Additional Director General of Police and chief of SIT Kamal Pant for stay of the High Court order passed on September 8.

The court issued notice to Riyaz and others after senior advocate Sidharth Luthra sought urgent hearing on the SLP.

Karnataka High Court Judge L Narayana Swamy on September 8 had granted bail to the accused stating the order would not come into effect till September 16 on a plea made by the SIT that no charge sheet was filed till then.

However, on Wednesday morning the SIT filed the charge sheet in the first case.

Appearing for the SIT, advocate Joseph Aristotle contended that the High Court had failed to see that the accused were very influential both financially and politically, and capable of tampering with the witnesses and hampering the investigation.

“The accused have been involved in serious offences of corruption, using the office of the Karnataka Lokayukta, a sacred institution which is established to curb corruption and prevent illegal activities of the public servants,” the SIT contended.

If the accused are released, they would use their “tremendous contacts”, money and political power to derail probe by threatening and “emotionally blackmailing” the witnesses, the SIT said, seeking stay of the HC order.

The accused got access to the office of Lokayukta and extorted money for a long period of time from public servants by threat of exposing their corrupt practices, the SIT said, adding any adverse impact on the investigation or trial would put a question mark on the commitment to check corruption in the institution of Karnataka Lokayukta.

The Chief Investigating Officer of the SIT Labhu Ram placed before the Lokayukta court the order of the apex court staying the release of the accused on bail.

Subsequently, the Lokayukta Special Court judge remanded the accused in judicial custody till September 29.

Yerabati Ashwin, son of Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao and V Bhaskar, who are in judicial custody were also produced before the Lokayukta court on Wednesday as their judicial custody had expired.

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