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Acting on a July 2016 recommendation of a privileges committee of the Karnataka Assembly, Speaker K B Koliwad has approved an order for the arrest of Ravi Belagere, a veteran journalist and editor of the tabloid ‘Hi Bangalore’.
The order entails a one-year prison term and fine of Rs 10,000 for Raju for publishing a defamatory article against the Speaker (when he was a Congress MLA) in 2014. The Speaker has also approved the arrest of Anil Raju, the editor of a north Bengaluru tabloid called Yelahanka Voice, in connection with a breach of privilege complaint filed in the legislature by BJP MLA from Yelahanka S R Vishwanath.
The Assembly secretariat has written to Bengaluru police commissioner to execute the orders of the Speaker to arrest the two journalists and collect the fine. As an MLA, Koliwad had moved a breach of privilege motion before former Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa in 2014 against Belagere, alleging that the tabloid Hi Bangalore had defamed him and breached privileges he enjoyed as an elected representative. The former Speaker had referred the matter to a privileges committee to address the issue.
A similar breach of privilege motion was moved against the Yelahanka Voice editor by MLA Vishwanath over articles published in the tabloid.