'Missing tribal could have been murdered'

ADGP Chikkerur says local police booked murder case on directions of legal experts

Addressing media here on Thursday, additional director general of police (ADGP), Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement Cell (DCREC) K N Chikkerur disclosed that the local H D Kote police have booked a case of murder on October 26. 

Raju of Gowda Machana Halli tribal hamlet in H D Kote taluk had gone to Metikuppe forest range along with three of his friends Rama, Shivanna and Bola on October 19, 2010.

However, he did not return home while three others returned. Raju’s wife Ningamma lodged a missing complaint with the local police on October 22. As nothing fructified, Raju’s son Ravi moved habeaus corpus in the High Court in the month of March.

Principal secretary of the home department, station house officer of H D Kote police station and deputy conservator of forest, Hunsur were made the parties. The court questioned the DCREC about the action taken.

Subsequently, the officers attached to the cell inspected the spot and also recorded the statements of three of the friends of Raju who had accompanied him to the forest on the fateful day.  

Quoting their statements Chikkerur said- Raju had been shot at inside the forest. Following this, the cell sought opinion from legal experts. The legal luminaries advised to book the case of murder, besides another under Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act. The Supreme Court had given a similar ruling in two cases earlier, based on which the legal luminaries directed the cell.

Replying to queries, the officer said that there are lapses on the part of the local police and action will be initiated against them.

According to the law, an officer in the cadre of DySP should handle such cases and Hunsur Dy SP Muthuswamy Naidu has been made the investigation officer for the particular case. He will be probing into the case under the supervision of Superintendent of Police Manish Karbiker.

The officer also clarified that, if a person goes missing even for a day it can be deemed as murder according to the law. The dependents are entitled for a compensation of Rs two lakh, besides job on compassionate grounds and also pension. In this case, the district tribal welfare officer has already initiated the process of awarding compensation to Raju’s family.

SP, DCREC, Yellappa was also present at the press meet.

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