The elder sister of Hemashree has denied media reports that the television actor, who died under mysterious circumstances, was married to Surendra Babu forcibly for monetary gains.
Addressing a press meet here on Saturday, Roopashree, the sister of Hemashree, said the latter had agreed to the marriage and that several reports pertaining to the case appearing in the media were far from truth.
She said the family intended to sue all the news channels which aired an audio tape said to be containing conversation of Hemashree with a friend, and demanded that the tape be sent for forensic examination.
Roopashree said she was hurt by the defamatory reports about her mother in the media and that her cousin Keshav Rao, who had a dispute with them, was using the tragedy to settle scores by planting defamatory stories.
Police are also said to have questioned Manjunath, allegedly close to Hemashree. Roopashree said her sister and Manjunath were close friends and there was no affair between them.
However, she added that the friendship had become a bone of contention in the family both before and after Hemashree’s marriage with Surendra Babu.
“My parents have gone to Haridwar to perform the last rites of Hemashree and will be back to clarify facts,” she said, requesting the media to allow the investigations to proceed instead of ‘diverting the attention’ of the police. She refused to comment when asked about her opinion on Surendra Babu.
Meanwhile, Murali, the owner of the farmhouse at Reddypalli at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, was brought to the City for questioning on Saturday. Surendra Babu is said to have taken Hemashree to the farmhouse after she fell ‘sick’ on their way to Hyderabad.
In his statement to police, Murali, a Congress leader, denied any involvement in or knowledge of the alleged murder. He said he got to know of Babu at a caste convention two years ago and that he was not present in the farmhouse when Babu went there along with Hemashree. Murali said he was in Bangalore when the incident took place.
“Surendra Babu tried contacting me. When I did not receive the call, he called Krishna, my friend, who also knew Babu through me, asking for permission to rest at my farmhouse since his wife suddenly took ill on their way to Hyderabad.
Krishna, in turn called Mahesh, a worker at the farmhouse, asking him to allow the Babu couple to use the farmhouse,” Murali stated. According to Murali, Babu arrived at the farmhouse in a vehicle driven by Satish. All the three, Mahesh, Babu and Satish shifted Hemashree to a room.
“Then Mahesh realised that Hemashree was already dead. He immediately alerted Krishna and asked them to leave the farmhouse to avoid trouble.” The police have recorded the statement and are questioning Murali.
‘Not a JD(S) member’
Former prime minister and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda has said that Surendra Babu is not even a primary member of the JD(S). Interacting with television channels on Saturday, Gowda said Babu was the JD(S) candidate for Bangalore North constituency in 2009 parliamentary elections.
“He lost to D B Chandre Gowda of the BJP. The party issued him ticket following workers’ demand. He never visited the party office after the polls,” Gowda said.