'Nithyananda, Halappa cases are not similar'

'Nithyananda, Halappa cases are not similar'

Congress leaders, who were crestfallen after a series of defeats in recent elections, have found the Halappa case handy to heckle the ruling BJP. Over the last three days, they have been going full throttle demanding the arrest of former minister Halappa and handing over the case to the CBI.

A comparison is drawn between the Halappa case and the Nityananda case. If Nityananda is behind the bars for facing rape charges, why should Halappa not face the same punishment is the question the Congressmen have been raising.

The police argue that the two cases are different in nature and in no way can a parallel be drawn. With regard to Nityananda, a case was registered against him on March 22, 2010 and he was arrested on April 21. Chandravati, who has levelled rape charges against Halappa, lodged her complaint around 9 pm on May 3 and the CID began its investigation at noon of May 4.

“Nityananda was arrested one month after the CID began investigation. How can Halappa be arrested without prima facie evidence? The complainant is being heard and the accused is yet to be. A notice has been issued to the accused to appear before the CID before May 10 in the CID office, Bangalore,” a top police officer said.

The recently amended CrPc has made it clear that an arrest should be made in a specific manner. It can be made if the investigation agency suspects that evidence will be tampered with, complainant will be threatened or the accused will escape.  “We have no apprehension that Halappa, being an MLA, will run away. The investigation officers will definitely arrest him in case there is evidence. It is the prerogative of the IO (investigating officer),” the officer said.

Two persons - Lenin Karuppan and Vishwanathan, an advocate - have filed cases against Nityananda. The cases registered against the godman are under Section 295 A (hurting the religious sentiments), 420 (cheating), 377 (sodomy), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 170 B (criminal conspiracy).

Chandravati has filed cases case under Section 376 (rape), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation).  Nityananda is facing charges of committing a series of offences. The FIR names 10 persons and only two - Nityananda and Bhakatananda have been arrested. They had both run away from Bidadi. Despite sending notices to the godman, he evaded the IO. The Perambudur court had issued a warrant to arrest him. So, the police had to hunt for him and make the arrest. 

The godman had lakhs of followers. There were several oral complaints that they were his victims. “If he was not arrested, he would have continued to exploit innocent people,” the officer said. This situation did not exist in Halappa’s case, he added.

If Chandravati had walked up to the police immediately after the alleged sexual abuse, the police would have taken the accused into custody to sent him for medical tests to determine whether there were any scratch or bite marks on his person that might indicate that the complainant had resisted his assault.

“Chandravati has lodged the complaint after five months. The clothes worn during the alleged rape would be subject to medical examination,” the officer said.  Chandravati’s husband Venkatesh Murthy’s antecedents were of no consequence to the investigation. Only the complainant and the accused mattered. In all probability, cell phones of Chandravati and Halappa would provide the major source of evidence for the investigation. But the complainant seemed to have informed the IO that she had no cell phone, the officer said.

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