Jain troika say ready for further probe

CBI must probe Soujanya's uncle Vittala Gowda's role in murder case, demand trio

The suspects in the case of Soujanya Gowda, victim of sexual assault five years ago, have welcomed the move of the judiciary admitting the plea of Soujanya’s father Chandappa Gowda demanding further investigation.

The jain troika has done so close on the heels of the special court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Bengaluru admitting the plea of Chandappa Gowda.

Soujanya Gowda, a 17 year old PU student of Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatha College at Ujire, had gone missing mysteriously on the evening of October 9, 2012. Her body was found the following day at Belthangady, with the police suspecting it to be a case of sexual assault followed by murder.

In a joint media briefing on Thursday in the city, Dheeraj Kella Jain, Mallik Jain and Uday Jain announced that they were ready to cooperate with any investigation agency, as they have been doing so with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and also the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that had handled the probe earlier.

Posers many

Turning the tables on Vittala Gowda, the maternal uncle of Soujanya, the trio who released a joint statement to the media have raised some questions. According to Vittala Gowda, he regularly dropped Soujanya home, after giving her refreshment at the hotel. However, only on the day that she went missing had Soujanya left for home on her own from the hotel. Although it had been raining at that time, Gowda did not bother to drop her home. This particular angle should be probed further, said Dheeraj, who claimed to have even told the same to investigators.

The court has also underlined the same point, as Soujanya had consumed food at 6 pm. It is common sense that she may have taken food offered by people known to her. It could be even Vittala Gowda, as is the doubt expressed by the locals too, said Dheeraj.

No top links

To a query on Dheeraj and Mallik being related to top echelons at Dharmasthala – the one reason that has allegedly derailed the probe – Dheeraj said that, except for their (including Mallik) father’s professional links with the Dharmasthala Sri Kshetra, they had no other such links. Dheeraj’s father was the manager of Annapoorna Choultry, where mass feeding is arranged for devotees, while Mallik’s father earlier worked as manager of the Jain Choultry. Mallik also works as a clerk in the office of the Sri Kshetra. Dheeraj runs a shop, while Uday is an autorickshaw driver.

On the day when Soujanya went missing, it was Mallik who found a youth – later identified as Santosh Rao, the main suspect in the case and still behind bars. As is the system, before locking the gates at certain locations, the staff at Sri Kshetra vacate the people loitering at such locations. It was during this time that Rao was found near ‘Bahubali Katte’ and was later handed over to police.

The Jain troika, however, insisted that they were not aware of the developments later, as it was only through the media that they learnt that Rao had turned out to be the main suspect in the case.

Not suspects

Taking severe exception to frequent references to their names by the court, even though there is no mention in the First Information Report (FIR) registered at Belthangady police station in the case, Dheeraj said, “We are still wondering why our names cropped up after one year of the incident. Moreover, it was on our own volition that we opted to undergo polygraphy and brain mapping tests in March 2015 (as ordered by 17th ACMM Court in Bengaluru, a copy of which was circulated to the media). The investigators had collected call details records (CDR) and also recorded the statements of those call receivers.”

Dheeraj also said that they would not have dared to undergo the test, had they really committed the crime.

Following the polygraphy test, the trio claimed to have also pleaded before another court through their advocate not to treat them henceforth as suspects. However, the court turned down their plea denying any separate copy like such, as their names are not included in the FIR copy.

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