The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed an order of the Karnataka High Court granting bail to four persons accused of using the offices of the Karnataka Lokayukta to carry out extortion activities. The four, including former Lokayukta PRO Syed Riyazatullah and a journalist M B Srinivasa Gowda, had been granted bail on September 8 by the high court.
The court had however asked the accused to wait till September 16 to be released. Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the extortion racket, had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to cancel the bail. The Lokayukta special court which was informed about the Supreme Court stay on the bail order cancelled the bail order and sent the accused back to judicial custody.
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The special court extended the judicial custody of the accused to September 29. The SIT on Wednesday also submitted a charge sheet against six accused persons, including Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao’s son Ashwin Rao alias Ashwin Yarabatti. The SIT submitted the 1545 page charge sheet with over 1000 pages of supporting documents.
This charge sheet is in connection with the first extortion case registered by the SIT on the basis of a complaint lodged by government engineer M N Krishnamurthy who alleged that he was asked to pay Rs 1 crore by the accused persons to prevent a raid on him by the Lokayukta police.
According to the chargesheet, Syed Riyazatullah, who was suspended from his post of PRO of Lokayukta soon after his arrest, is the main accused while a mediator Ashok Kumar is the second accused and Ashwin Rao is the third. Journalist-cum-RTI activist V Bhaskar, Shankare Gowda and Srinivasa Gowda are mentioned as accused as well. The SIT has so far registered five extortion cases against the Lokayukta’s son and his associates and have arrested 11 persons including Ashwin Rao.