Karnataka HC stops arrest of Aaj Tak’s Sudhir Chaudhary in ‘communal hatred’ case

News Network
September 15, 2023

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Bengaluru, Sept 15: The Karnataka High Court has directed the police not to take precipitative action against Aaj Tak news channel's Consulting Editor Sudhir Chaudhary in an FIR filed against him, but said that there was a prima facie case against him, and it should be investigated. The court also said that it would dispose of the petition filed by Chaudhary challenging the FIR and that there was no need for custodial interrogation till then.

The interim order sought by Chaudhary for stay was not granted as the HC ordered the petition to be posted for hearing on September 20. Chaudhary had challenged the FIR lodged at the Seshadripuram police station in Bengaluru after a complaint by Shivakumar S, the Assistant Administrative Officer of the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation Limited. The single judge bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar who heard the petition observed during the hearing that there was a prima facie case for investigation.

“The specific allegation was that the government is providing a scheme only to minorities and depriving Hindus. There is a prima facie case for investigation,” the HC said. Senior counsel Uday Holla argued the case for Chaudhary. The HC said that the scheme established for minorities by the Minority Development Corporation can be criticised by any person including the media but the case against Chaudhary -- “whether the allegations that news item telecasted by petitioner satisfies essentials of Section 153A IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) -- needs to be examined.” However, in relief for Chaudhary, the HC has said there won't be any custodial interrogation or arrests. “Till Tuesday (Sep 19) don't take any precipitative action. I am going to hear the matter. This matter is to be disposed of. I cannot keep it pending. I need time to hear the matter till Tuesday,” the court said, adjourning the hearing.

Holla argued that the scheme was only for minorities. The HC however pointed out that it was not what was telecast on the news channel. “The average man may develop hatred towards minorities saying they have been given and not me,” observed the HC, which also pointed out the claim in the news report that said “84 per cent (of beneficiaries) come from a specific minority community.” Chaudhary has been booked under Section 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The complaint had alleged that Chaudhary had conspired to disrupt communal harmony by spreading misinformation on his channel about the Karnataka government’s 'Swavalambi Sarathi Scheme'.

The scheme provides 50 per cent subsidy on bank loans obtained by religious minorities for purchase of commercial transport vehicles up to ₹three lakh. It was alleged that Chaudhary in a news programme on Aaj Tak channel spread misinformation about the government practicing minority appeasement. 

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News Network
May 18,2024

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Bengaluru: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar and other state ministers on Saturday rubbished allegations about their role in the circulation of pen drives containing explicit videos involving Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna.

BJP leader and advocate G Devaraje Gowda, who is in custody after being arrested in a sexual abuse case and is also facing charges of video leak, on Friday alleged that Shivakumar and four other ministers are behind the circulation of the pen drives and was being fixed in false cases as he did not agree to be part of their plan.

He has even alleged that he was offered Rs 100 crore by Shivakumar to "bring a bad name" to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and to tarnish the image of JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy in Prajwal Revanna's obscene video case.

Speaking to reporters here, Shivakumar said, "Better, let him (Gowda) file a case before Lokayukta or any other agency. I think he has some problems mentally. I'm very sorry, the national and state media shouldn't have picked up such baseless allegations. A person who is in jail, how can he make such allegations? All these are baseless. I don't want to comment." 

Asked if he will be filing any defamation case against Gowda, he said, "I don't want to make any comment or speak on a person who is mentally sick. I appeal to his party people to get him a good treatment." Shivakumar also asserted that his government's commitment to get justice for women victims of the sexual abuse case, and expressed confidence about the Special Investigation Team's (SIT) ongoing probe.

While being taken from court in Hassan, Gowda on Friday spoke to media and alleged that Shivakumar is behind pen drive case, and a team of four Ministers -- N Chaluvarayaswamy, Krishna Byre Gowda, Priyank Kharge and another minister -- was formed to handle this, with an intention to bring bad name to BJP, PM Modi and Kumaraswamy.

He said Shivakumar had asked him to say that Kumaraswamy is behind the distribution of pen drives, but as he did not agree to it, he is being fixed in false cases.

Minister Priyank Kharge said Gowda has alleged that three responsible ministers in the state government were part of a team and that there was a conspiracy. "We will discuss whatever legal course, we will take it." 

"Devaraje Gowda might be doing this to defame Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah. If he had a Rs 100 crore offer, he should have told Amit Shah (Union Home Minister) and get it investigated. He could have got CBI, ED, or IT raids done. Why didn't he do it? Claims have been made that he (Gowda) was sent Rs 5 crore as advance at a club, let them get CCTV footage and see who were all there," Kharge said.

While speaking to reporters here, he further said Gowda is a lawyer. When he was deposed before the Judge he should have told about the documents he has and should have presented to the court.

Minister Chaluvarayaswamy said allegations about the role of Shivakumar and a team of ministers being formed to oversee the circulation of pen drives are 'baseless', and he questioned Gowda's morality to make such accusations.

"If Gowda proves that Chaluvarayaswamy, Priyank Kharge and Krishna Byre Gowda had held a meeting on this case and we as a team were given responsibility and we were involved in this case, I will apologise," he said and alleged that Gowda was being used to mislead and deviate from the main case of sexual abuse.

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News Network
May 14,2024

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Bengaluru, May 14: JD(S) leader HD Revanna has been released from Parappana Agrahara Jail today, on May 14 after he was granted conditional bail. 

He was granted a conditional bail yesterday by a Bengaluru court in connection with a kidnapping case linked to sexual abuse allegation against him and his son Prajwal.

Revanna was arrested on May 4 by Special Investigative Team (SIT) officials in a kidnapping case registered against him at KR Nagar police station in the city. The case is linked to his son and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna’s mega sex scam. 

Representing the JD(S) MLA from Holenarsipura, he termed this case a "political conspiracy" against him.

A SIT, constituted by the Karnataka government, is probing the alleged sexual abuse against against HD Revanna and his son Prajwal Revanna.

Prajwal Revanna, the incumbent MP, is seeking another term from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency. The voting for the seat took place on April 26.

Earlier, JD (S) chief HD Kumaraswamy alleged that Karnataka government does not want a fair inquiry.

"They are misusing the office. Nothing is going to happen ultimately. They wanted character assassination of HD Revanna and for that reason, they are using their office," Kumaraswamy told ANI.

Meeting Karnataka Governor Tawara Chanda Gehlot on May 9, a delegation of the Janata Dal (Secular) submitted a memorandum and urged Gehlot to recommend a CBI probe.

Prajwal sill absconding

The JD(S) MP, Prajwal, fled to Germany after Karnataka State Commission for Women Nagalakshmi Chowdhary wrote to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seeking an investigation into over obscene videos of Prajwal Revanna allegedly sexually abusing several women. He has also skipped summons issued by the SIT to appear before it.

The ‘obscene videos’ involving Prajwal Revanna started making the rounds ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka on April 26, triggering a political slugfest.

A lookout notice against Prajwal Revanna has been issued at all airports in India, along with a Blue Corner notice. A Blue Corner notice issued by Interpol helps countries collect and share information regarding a person's location and their activities as part of a criminal investigation.

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News Network
May 14,2024

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Jerusalem: Israel and India will continue to deepen their bilateral ties and lead to greater prosperity, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Tuesday.

Katz was responding to India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s message on the occasion of Israel’s 76th Independence Day.

“Thank you for the warm wishes, FM @DrSJaishankar. In celebration of our Independence Day, Israel and India will continue to deepen our ties and lead to greater prosperity,” Katz said in a post on X.

Earlier in the morning, Jaishankar posted on X a 2:03-minute video showcasing the India-Israel relationship through photos of various bilateral meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself, and other Indian ministers with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other ministers.

“Congratulate FM @Israel_katz and the people of Israel on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of Israel’s Independence. Mazel Tov!,” Jaishankar posted along with the video and repeated the same message in another post in Hebrew.

Meanwhile, President Droupadi Murmu wished her Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog as she said on X, “I join the people of India in conveying our best wishes to President @Isaac_Herzog, and the people of Israel on the 76th anniversary of Israel’s independence.”

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla too took to X to post his greetings to his counterpart Amir Ohana, the Speaker of The Knesset: “On the occasion of Israel’s 76th anniversary of independence, I congratulate Speaker of the Knesset @AmirOhana and the people of Israel.”

Both Murmu and Birla also included greetings in Hebrew.

“Thank you, my dear friend @ombirlakota. May the friendship between our nations grow stronger,” Ohana replied to Birla and also added a line in Devnagari script in Hindi, loosely translated as, “Thank you my dear friend Om Birla. May the friendship between our countries be stronger.”

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