Editor of local tabloid commits suicide in prison

Anil Raj

The Parappana Agrahara prison officials are probing the suicide of a 56-year-old editor of a local tabloid, arrested in August over a sexual harassment complaint.

Anil Raj, who owned and edited the 'Voice of Yelahanka', resided in Yelahanka's Gandhi Nagar. A woman employee of his newspaper had lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against him. Raj was arrested and had been in judicial custody.

V Sheshmurthy, chief superintendent of Parappana Agrahara prison, said Raj was lodged in a cell at barrack number five. On Tuesday evening, when all the prisoners were called in, Raj did not enter the barrack. Raj went behind barrack 4 that has a temple, allegedly tied a rope to the iron rod there and hanged himself.

When officials took attendance, they noticed Raj's absence and found him hanging while searching for him. Since the body was still warm, Raj was brought down and rushed to Victoria Hospital, but doctors declared him brought dead. A complaint has been filed at the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison.

Prison officials said Raj's wife and daughter met him at the visitors' gallery and he appeared depressed. Raj discussed his bail application with his daughter, a law student, and asked her to process it fast. "We suspect he might have felt depressed and took the extreme step for not getting bail," an official said.

"We’ll (nevertheless) probe the death from all angles, and are waiting for the post-mortem report," the official added. The post-mortem was conducted in the presence of the magistrate and an investigation has been ordered.

Raj was also booked for breach of privilege by the Assembly speaker after Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath, currently the chief minister’s political secretary, complained against him for writing a series of articles accusing him of corruption.

After the Assembly passed a motion to convict Raj and journalist-writer Ravi Belagere for a year and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 in June 2017, Raj moved the high court and got a stay in December.

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