Court acquits Horale Saroja of all charges

Court acquits Horale Saroja of all charges

Court acquits Horale Saroja of all charges

The suspected Maoist Horale Saroja (30) from Horale in Koppa taluk in Chikmagalur district, arrested in 2008, was acquitted by the District and Sessions Court.

District and Sessions Court Judge Justice B M Angadi pronounced the verdict acquitting Saroja declaring that the prosecution has failed to prove the charges against the accused.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Saroja’s Counsel Shantharam Shetty said Horale Saroja and Devendra were the two accused in the list of 12 accused. The remaining were not arrested. Saroja and Devendra were acquitted of the charges of entering the house and  threatening one Sadananda Shetty alias Kutti Shetty, a timber merchant in Mutlapadi in Muniyalu in Andaru village and setting ablaze his bike on February 27, 2006.

Charges also mentioned that they had threatened not to inform police and the group pasted pamphlets carrying the Maoist messages on the walls of the house of Sadananda Shetty. They had made him to apologize publicly in front of people and had threatened him to distribute his wealth among poor.

They had escaped with destructive weapons. A case was registered in Karkala rural police station and the then DYSP Santhosh Kumar was the investigating officer. Saroja was involved in many other cases and she was acquitted from all her other cases. She had ten cases against her in Udupi district and she was acquitted in her ninth case in March by  Kundapur court . 

Devendra is also charged in connection with Edu encounter that took place in 2003 and the murder of Boja Shetty in Nadpalu in 2009.

Public prosecutor T S Jithoori said Saroja is acquitted from the case for want of identification as the complainant and witnesses set back from identifying the accused. They had identified in the initial stages of the case.

However, in due course of time, they stepped back from identifying the accused stating that they could not identify the accused as the group of Maoists who attacked had covered their faces. Jithoori said although there were sufficient evidences, the case could not stand as both the complainant and the witnesses failed to identify the accused, he added.

Saroja speaks

Speaking to mediapersons after coming out of the jail in Mangalore, Saroja said: “I will continue to support pro-people movement in the society. I was jailed for no reason for the last four years. I want to ask the government and the police, why do they punish the poor.”

She said, “I have taken part in the pro-people movements and was not a part of Maoist movement. I have not supported Maoist activities,” she said.

Saroja’s husband Suresh Naik, who had come to receive her asked, “Whether the authorities can bring in changes in the society by arresting the innocents.”“The police had visited my house on May 11, 2009 and had asked me to accompany them to the police station.

When I said I have not committed any crime, they asked me to visit the station and sign. They had obtained 21 body warrants against me. I was forced to spend four and half years in jail without any mistake committed by me.

Even my child had to spend three years in jail along with me. My husband was also charged with false cases,” she added.

After release from jail, she left for her native Hosanagara in Shimoga along with her husband and brother Udaya.

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