Two suspects destroyed 'crucial' evidence in Lokayukta scam: SIT

Two suspects destroyed 'crucial' evidence in Lokayukta scam: SIT

'SIM card, handset would have proved Syed Riyaz's link to racket'

Two suspects destroyed 'crucial' evidence in Lokayukta scam: SIT

Ashok Kumar and Shankare Gowda, two of the suspects arrested in the case of corruption and extortion at the Lokayukta’s office, have destroyed evidence at the behest of their co-suspect, the suspended Lokayukta Joint Commissioner (PRO) Syed Riyaz, according to the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

In written objections to the bail applications moved by Riyaz, Kumar, journalist Srinivasa Gowda and his associate Shankare Gowda, the special public prosecutor stated that all the suspects had been in touch on May 4, the day PWD engineer Krishnamurthy was threatened at the Lokayukta’s office, and even after the incident.

The SIT contended that there was digital evidence to establish the link between Riyaz and the other suspects in the extortion racket. On his behest, Kumar destroyed the SIM card that was used to call up Krishnamurthy, while Shankare Gowda trashed the handset. The SIT had found five mobile phones at Kumar’s house during a search. These handsets have the recordings of the calls between Kumar and Riyaz. The voice fingerprinting will be done based on the voice samples collected, the objections stated. The court on Monday remanded Kumar in judicial custody for 14 days.

At Shankare Gowda’s house, SIT sleuths seized diaries that contained telephone numbers of Public Works Department engineers. Then, several RTI applications were recovered from Srinivasa Gowda’s house. The investigation so far has revealed that Kumar, Srinivasa Gowda and Shankare Gowda were at a star hotel on May 4. The conference room at the second floor of the Lokayukta’s office, the place where Krishnamurthy was threatened, is in the custody of Riyaz, the prosecution stated. The room has two entries — one from outside the PRO chamber and the other from within his chamber.

The prosecution also filed objections to the bail application moved by Yerabati Ashwin, son of Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao. The SIT had arrested Ashwin on the charge that he demanded bribe from Channabasappa, an executive engineer with the Upper Tunga project in Haveri. The prosecution stated that Ashwin’s presence at Hotel Hawana in HITEC City, Hyderabad, along with Channabasappa and other suspects V Bhaskar and Kumar, had been established.

Investigators gathered crucial evidence to prove that Ashwin, who arrived in a black Mercedes-Benz, had met Channabasappa. The prosecution has submitted that incriminating documents were seized from Ashwin’s house in Hyderabad. The documents have been submitted to the court in the form of a CD.