HC seeks report on probe into RTI activist's murder

The High Court of Karnataka on Friday directed the State government to submit a report on the progress of investigation into the murder of RTI activist Lingaraju, who was hacked to death in front of his house in Chamarajpet recently.

The court, which had taken up a suo motu case, also directed the State to consider if a special public prosecutor can be appointed to pursue the case and submit a report on December 5. 

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna is hearing the matter.

Earlier, senior advocate Hashmath Pasha, who has been appointed by the court as the amicus curiae, contended that the Azadnagar corporator Gowramma be included in the investigation. At present, the police have arrested the corporator’s husband Govindaraju and seven accomplices on charges of murdering Lingaraju.

Pasha said that in a similar case in Haryana, action was also taken against the spouse who was a public servant, as it was politically motivated.

Pasha also stated that the police had neither registered a proper FIR nor conducted an impartial inquiry as they seemed to be favouring the suspects.

He recommended the appointment of a special public prosecutor.
Lingaraju’s murder is being seen as a retaliation by Govindaraju for lodging a complaint with the Upalokayukta about the assets of corporator Gowramma and her husband.

The Lokayukta police raided the premises of the couple and seized assets amounting to around Rs 16 crore.

Lokayukta court

The Special Lokayukta Court on Friday directed the Lokayukta police to compare the documents submitted to the court by Lingaraju with the documents obtained by the police for their investigations and submit a report to the court.

Lingaraju had also filed a private complaint against Govindaraju and later included the name of Gowramma.

He had accused them of possessing assets disproportionate to their known source of income.

The Lokayukta police have also registered a separate case of disproportionate assets against Gowramma and are investigating the matter.

Corporator’s bail plea

The High Court on Friday directed the Lokayukta police to file objections in the case filed by Ganesh Mandir ward corporator L Govindaraju seeking bail and suspension of sentence imposed by a lower court.

Submitting before Justice K Bhaktavatsala, the Lokayukta counsel quoted a Supreme Court judgement which said that the respondents should also be heard and their objections be considered, before the court could consider the plea for suspension of orders. The court directed the Lokayukta police to submit their objections on Monday.

Govindaraju has been convicted by the Special Lokayukta court and was sentenced to four years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 90,000 for accepting a bribe of Rs two lakh from a builder, Udayakumar, for allowing him to construct an apartment complex.

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