Updated: August 13, 2021 9:48:27 am
The Karnataka High Court has extended till September an order issued on July 27 restraining a special investigation team (SIT) of Bengaluru police from filing final reports on its investigation into allegations of rape made against BJP MLA and former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi by a woman, and a parallel probe into extortion allegations made by the MLA against the woman.
A division bench of the Karnataka High Court had said while issuing the July 27 order: “though the investigation of Crime Nos 21 and 30 of 2021 will continue, the final report shall not be filed without the leave of the court”.
The woman complainant who is at the centre of the controversy over a CD purportedly featuring Jarkiholi that was broadcast on TV channels on March 2 – forcing the minister’s resignation the next day – has questioned the appointment of an SIT to probe the cases and has sought the quashing of investigations in the HC.
The SIT presented a report to the HC on July 19 of the progress of the investigation into the sexual assault allegations and counter allegations of extortion.
On Thursday, the court asked how the SIT was able to conduct the probe despite its head being on leave for nearly three months.
The court noted that “there is no document placed on record to show that any order was passed by the state government making any other police officer the head of SIT”, in the absence of the IPS officer Soumendu Mukherjee.
Mukherjee had stated earlier that he was unable to supervise the investigation personally and that he had authorised IPS officer Sandeep Patil to present reports to the court, the division bench of the HC noted.
State advocate general, Prabhuling Navadgi, argued on Thursday that the probe was not vitiated by the absence of the person appointed as the SIT chief and that a team of officers had conducted the probe.
The high court asked if the SIT chief would study the investigation report. The court was however informed that the SIT head would not reassess the probe that had been carried out in his absence.
The court posted the cases for next month on the issues raised in the petitions. The SIT has not carried out any arrests in the cases so far and two former media personnel linked to the extortion case were questioned at length by the SIT after they obtained anticipatory bail.
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