A senior IPS officer in Karnataka, who is accused of clicking “obscene pictures” on his cellphone of two women patrons at a cafe in central Bangalore, waded into further controversy by accusing senior colleagues, including the Bangalore Police Commissioner, of framing him to settle old scores.
The police on Tuesday registered a case of assault with intent to outrage the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation against Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) Dr P Ravindranath after he was accused by two women, including a former journalist, of taking their pictures at the Au Bon Pain cafe Monday morning. Police seized the mobile phone used to click the images and sent it for forensic analysis as part of investigations.
Dr Ravindranath, 50, a Dalit and a President’s Medal Award winner for meritorious service this year, was initially detained by police in the High Grounds police station after the women at the cafe, with the assistance of a customer identified as Sridhar, overpowered him and grabbed his cellphone before calling in a local police patrol jeep for help. The officer, who was not in uniform, claimed that an unidentified person present at the cafe had grabbed his cellphone while it was lying unattended to click the pictures of the women.
The victim in her complaint has said that that she and her cousin were at the cafe when they found a person sitting next to them staring and taking pictures. “I asked him to show the phone. He said sorry and tried to run out of the cafe. My cousin was manhandled by him when she tried to snatch his mobile. Another customer Sridhar who was sitting on the first floor of the cafe came out to help. We got the phone and saw that there were two obscene photos of me that he had taken,” the victim said in her complaint.
After the telephone was han-ded over to the police, the officer, according to the complaint, tried to intimidate her. “During the incident we came to know that he had an identity card of the police department,” the victim said.
The 1989-batch IPS officer, who is a doctor by qualification, and the son of late Andhra Pradesh minister Puttapaga Mahendranath, was being tipped to be a contender for the post of the Bangalore Police Commissioner in the event of an upcoming reshuffle in the police ranks.
Turning the incident on its head, Dr Ravindranath, however, has accused senior police officers of a larger conspiracy in the case. On Tuesday, he marched to the High Grounds police station and demanded to be locked up. He also returned to the cafe and broke down in front of the media before barging into a meeting of senior police officers with Home Minister K J George to offer his resignation. The minister refused to accept the resignation.
On Wednesday, Dr Ravindranath marched to the office of the police commissioner and demanded to be arrested before being convinced to meet state police chief Lalrokhuma Pachau. “I do not want people to say that I tried to prevent my arrest so I surrendered. I want the man who identified himself as Sridhar at the cafe brought to book for assaulting me and I want justice for the two women who initially accused me of clicking pictures and later of assault,’’ he said.
He accused Bangalore Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar of nursing a grouse against him and accused senior officers in Karnataka of ganging up against him for refusing to allot KSRP constables to cook at their houses. “When I was the SP in Gulbarga he (Auradkar) was my senior and he made some adverse remarks about me in my annual report which I took up with senior officers. This upset him,” he said. “Later when I was the DIG (economic offences) in the CID and he was the DIG (Intelligence) a mobile device belonging to the Naxalite leader Saketh Rajan (who was killed in an encounter) was recovered. The cyber cell of which I was in charge was tasked with recovering the data from the device but the DIG Intelligence accused me of deliberately not recovering the data. He called me for questioning and accused me of having links with Naxals because of my Andhra origins. After I explained my family’s standing he sent me away with a clean chit.”
His colleagues admitted Dr Ravindranath was not popular in the police force with his abrasive attitude and refusal to bow to demands from officers for alloting KSRP men as orderlies and cooks at their homes. The government late Wednesday ordered his transfer from the KSRP and asked him to report to police headquarters.