Updated: June 11, 2021 7:42:30 am
A sessions court in Bengaluru has asked two former television journalists accused of extortion in a sex CD case involving former BJP minister Ramesh Jarkiholi to appear before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case within five days and cooperate in the ongoing investigation.
The 90th additional city civil and session judge in Bengaluru has asked the missing duo — S Shravan Kumar (25), a former video editor and B M Naresh Gowda (32), a former journalist in the Kannada television media — to surrender before the SIT, while granting anticipatory bail to the duo who have been absconding for nearly three months.
The sessions judge overruled arguments by the SIT special public prosecutor against the granting of bail to the missing duo on the grounds that they had given an undertaking to take part in the probe of the extortion case and since most charges against them are bailable.
“As this court has already observed, except the offence punishable under section 67-A of the IT Act, all other offences alleged are bailable in nature. Further, none of the offences alleged is punishable with imprisonment for life or more than 7 years nor punishable with capital punishment,” the sessions court stated while granting bail to the two former journalists.
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“Notwithstanding this order of anticipatory bail, the IO is at liberty to take the petitioners into his custody, if the petitioners are absolutely required for custodial interrogation and consequential recovery, if any,” the court added.
BJP MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi had filed a police complaint in Bengaluru in March this year against unnamed persons for alleged extortion and blackmail using a CD. Jarkiholi was forced to quit as a minister in the state government when the video went viral.
A young woman, who was seen in the video, also filed a complaint of sexual assault against the BJP MLA saying he enticed her into a sexual relationship by promising her a job.
Jarkiholi, however, has suggested a “political conspiracy” to defame him through the CD.
“It is further contended in the objection that the complainant Ramesh L Jarakiholi gave further statement before the respondent (SIT) narrating the sequence of events as to how he was honey trapped by the said lady and the petitioners herein and the manner in which the petitioners extracted money from him,” the sessions court observed in its June 8 order.
The SIT, in its objections to the anticipatory bail, said investigation has revealed that the two petitioners were part of an organized attempt at trapping the former minister.
Earlier on May 31, the SIT had informed the Karnataka high court — which is monitoring the probe in the cases linked to the CD episode on account of two PILs — that the two former journalists were untraceable.
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