A Bengaluru sessions court has rejected the bail plea of a key accused in the August 11 violence in the city, specifically relating to an attack on the residence of a Congress MLA and two police stations, after the Karnataka government argued that the accused had allegedly conspired the violence with a prominent political leader in the state.
Arun Manoraj, 34, nephew and personal assistant of former Bengaluru mayor and Congress leader Sampath Raj, was arrested for the August 11 attack on the residence of Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, Congress MLA from Pulakeshinagar constituency. The police had said that Manoraj’s phone was used to mobilise people for the attack.
Three Muslim youths were killed in police firing and a fourth person succumbed to other wounds in the violence of August 11, when mobs laid siege on two police stations and Murthy’s ancestral home. The violence began after Murthy’s nephew, P Naveen Kumar, put out a derogatory social media post against the minority community.
During the bail hearing, while defence counsels told the court that Manoraj was not present at any of the scenes of violence, the public prosecutor argued that he had used the derogatory social media posts to give a planned attack the semblance of “mob violence”.
Rejecting Manoraj’s bail plea, the sessions court noted the “case against the petitioner (Manoraj) is that he is the chief conspirator behind the incident”, and that “miscreants caused the damage” following “instigation and motivation caused by him”.
The judge noted in the order, “…material placed by the counsel for 2nd respondent (MLA Murthy) reveals that he (Manoraj) is follower of a prominent political leader, and is a class 1 civil contractor; he is economically sound.”
The police are now investigating whether Sampath Raj, a political rival of Murthy in the party, was also part of the allegedly orchestrated mob violence.
The police are also looking at the roles of A R Zakir, a Congress councillor, and husbands of two other councillors in the incidents. Kaleem Pasha, husband of Irshad Begum, the councillor from Nagwara, has already been arrested in the case.
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