Bengaluru: Former Congress mayor R. Sampath Raj was remanded to two-day police custody after he was produced before the court on Tuesday.
He was produced in a local court after being grilled for more than five hours by Central Crime Branch (CCB) sleuths in their headquarters.
Confirming the police custody, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said, “The court has granted us two days custody of the accused Sampath Raj.”
He added that Raj, an accused who was absconding since October 14 was arrested yesterday night. “We need time for a detailed interrogation,” he said.
Patil said further questioning would continue after presenting Raj before a local court. “In the case that was transferred to the CCB, 53 accused have been arrested so far. Special teams were formed to arrest the absconding accused,” he said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai termed the arrest as a ‘major development’.
“He is an accused who had been absconding. Now that we’ve caught him, further probe will reveal the conspiracy and more people behind the same,” the minister said.
Karnataka Congress unit president D. K. Shivakumar accused the ruling BJP was “misusing” the bureaucratic machinery to defame his party.
Speaking to reporters here, Shivakumar said, “Definitely this is an attempt to target Congress, where is the evidence to prove that Congress men are involved.”
Raj, who is currently the Congress corporator representing D. J. Halli municipal ward, was named as an accused among others by the CCB in an interim charge sheet filed on October 12.
The chargesheet mentioned that Raj was part of the conspiracy in the violence that saw Pulakeshinagar Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy’s house in Kaval Byrasandra being torched by a enraged mob.
The incident took place on August 11, when Murthy’s nephew Naveen Kumar (who is out on bail now) had posted insidious post on Facebook, which led to around 3,000 to 4,000 people gathered and indulged in arson and looting in D. J. Halli and K.G. Halli police limits.
In a bid to control the mob, the police opened fire at the mob in which four persons were killed.
While Raj was interrogated by an investigating team led by ACP Venugopal earlier, he had cited Covid-19 treatment as a reason for not appearing when summoned for the second time.
However, he was termed “absconding” by the CCB team on realising that he had left the hospital earlier in October without informing the police.
The development comes days after the CCB team arrested Raj’s close aide Riyazuddin for sheltering the accused in Nagarhole forests.
“We got information that Riyazuddin had taken both Raj and Abdul Rakeeb Zakir (Pulkeshingar ward Congress corporator) to a farm in Nagarhole a few days ago. On reaching the spot, Riyazuddin was arrested from the same farm,” the CCB claimed.
Following the mysterious disappearance of Raj, the High Court had recently directed the CCB to take all the measures to arrest him.
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