The High Court of Karnataka has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct further investigation into the death of K Raghunath, a realtor.
Raghunath’s wife M Manjula and son Rohith had approached the High Court in this regard. The late liquor baron and businessman D K Adikeshavalu’s son D A Srinivas and daughter D A Kalpaja are among the accused in the case.
Raghunath was found hanging in the guest house belonging to Srinivas on May 4, 2019, in Whitefield. His wife and son have alleged that he was summoned by Raghunath and Kalpaja two days before that. It was claimed in the complaint that Raghunath had a close working relationship with Adikeshavalu, who was also a former Member of Parliament. Adikeshavalu died on April 24, 2013.
After that, it is alleged that Srinivas in particular began to pester Raghunath claiming that the properties in various places in Bengaluru in his name were purchased with money given by his father.
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Srinivas wanted those properties to be returned to him. Raghunath, his family claims, insisted that the properties were purchased with his own money.
An income tax raid on the premises of Srinivas was attributed to Raghunath. Raghunath executed a will in the meantime bequeathing his properties in the name of his wife. Raghunath was planning to sell a property on May 4, 2019, and after getting wind of it, he was summoned by Srinivas and Kalpaja on May 2, 2019.
Raghunath allegedly called his wife on the morning of May 4 saying his life was in danger. When Raghunath’s son went to inquire, his father was found hanging. The HAL police registered a case of unnatural death and closed the case. The police allegedly refused to register the complaint of Manjula.
A complaint to the Commissioner was also ignored. She filed a private complaint in the Magistrate court which ordered an investigation on March 2, 2020. When the police did not investigate the matter despite the Magistrate court order, Manjula approached the HC. The HC directed the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT). A three-member team was constituted but it filed a ‘B’ report stating there was no evidence. The Magistrate court, however, rejected the B report and directed the Station House Officer of HAL police to further investigate the case.
Manjula approached the HC against this order stating that the police who had refused to register the complaint in the first place were not the right persons to investigate the matter again. Even when the three-member SIT was formed, only one police inspector R Prakash had investigated the matter and filed a B Report. A very shoddy investigation was conducted and even the Magistrate himself had raised a doubt about the way it was conducted. Therefore, the same police should not be asked to investigate the case further. She sought the CBI to investigate the matter. Justice M Nagaprasanna in his judgment dated September 3, directed the CBI to investigate the matter and “submit its report to the court concerned within an outer limit of six months.” The HC said that the power to hand over the case to the CBI has to be exercised sparingly and cautiously and in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances prevailed in the present case.
”The petitioner contends that the status of the accused being so powerful, are in a position to wield abundant influence upon any investigating team of the State, this submission would further wane out the Court’s faith in directing further investigation by SIT-1 or by the constitution of an SIT-2,” the HC said. Handing the investigation to the CBI, the HC said, ”It is by now a well-settled principle of law, judicially recognized, that fair trial includes, fair investigation and these form facets, inter alia of Article 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India.”