Dogged pursuit: Son's persistence spurs CID probe into farmer's decade-long disappearance

Venkataramanappa, then 50 years old, disappeared from a court in Anekal on August 14, 2014. The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit is treating the case as one of kidnapping.
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 20:11 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 20:11 IST

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Bengaluru: Police are intrigued by the disappearance of a farmer from Anekal, who went missing in 2014 without a trace. The case would have been closed if not for the relentless follow-ups by the man's son. Raghu has now persuaded the state police chief to transfer the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit is treating the case as one of kidnap.  Police say they did everything to trace Venkataramanappa.

They scoured unidentified bodies all over South India, interrogated more than 15 people, ran numerous fingerprint tests, put three suspects through lie detection tests, checked bank account details, conducted Aadhaar identification tests, and examined unidentified bodies found on railway tracks, but found no clue. 

Venkataramanappa, then 50 years old, disappeared from a court in Anekal on August 14, 2014. After three days of unsuccessful searches, Raghu filed a missing person report with the Anekal police on August 17. On August 25, he expressed suspicion about a particular individual, and the complaint was reclassified as a kidnapping case. 

The case was subsequently transferred to the Jigani police station, then to the Bengaluru District Crime Branch and later to the CEN police of the Bengaluru Rural district. However, each investigation yielded no leads. 

An officer involved in the investigation told DH that unnatural death reports (UDRs) from the neighbouring districts of Chikkaballapur, Ramanagar and Kolar were reviewed, and all road accidents in these districts were examined, but no clues were found. 

Eventually, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) took over the case and was preparing to file a closure report when the Superintendent of Police (SP) decided to make one last effort. The SP obtained Venkataramanappa’s fingerprint from an old document, recreated it and compared it with fingerprints from unidentified bodies in neighbouring states, but no matches were found. 

During the investigation, more than 30 people were questioned. Based on Raghu’s suspicions, three individuals underwent lie detector tests, all of which returned with negative results. A special team was formed by the DySP to investigate further, but no new leads emerged. 

In addition to lie detector tests, brain mapping tests were conducted on the suspects.

Details of Venkataramanappa’s disappearance were sent to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Fingerprint and forensic tests on unidentified bodies were performed, but no matches were found.

The CID also contacted the UIDAI nodal officer to check for any modifications to Venkataramanappa’s Aadhaar card, but no such changes were reported. Investigations into new bank accounts opened using Venkataramanappa’s ID proofs also drew a blank. 

Despite the setbacks, Raghu remained hopeful and escalated the matter to higher authorities. "I met the Additional Director General of Police (Crime), and he suggested that I write to the Director General of Police (DGP). After two letters, the DGP finally transferred the case to the CID," he told DH

A senior police officer monitoring the case said they were conducting another round of lie detector tests on the same three suspects, and the results were awaited. 

Raghu's persistence, despite being a farmer from a small town, has spurred the persistent investigation. He has also sought help from the chief minister and the home minister. 

While Venkataramanappa's disappearance remains a mystery, Raghu’s persistence has ensured that the investigation continues from all possible angles. 

Published 29 May 2024, 20:11 IST

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