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Bengaluru riots case: Former Mayor Sampath Raj files plea for anticipatory bail

Sampath Raj has been named as the prime conspirator and executor in the case by the Central Crime Branch.

Former Bengaluru Mayor and DJ Halli corporator Sampath Raj has filed an anticipatory bail petition with the Bengaluru Sessions Court on Saturday evening. Sampath Raj’s counsel filed the plea as he has been named as the prime conspirator in the DJ Halli and KJ Halli violence case. The sessions court has adjourned the hearing to October 27. 

Details of his alleged role in the riots that took place in Bengaluru on the night of August 11, were placed before the sessions court on October 12 when the police filed the chargesheet in the case. 

Sampath Raj tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the first week of September and has been in the hospital ever since. The Central Crime Branch, which is probing the case, has requested the health department to form a panel of doctors to inquire on Sampath Raj’s health condition. 

CCB sources told TNM that the sleuths suspect that Sampath Raj may be avoiding arrest on the pretext of COVID-19 treatment. Sampath Raj and his personal assistant Arun Kumar were questioned by the CCB on August 17. Arun Kumar was subsequently arrested. CCB sources said that the investigators unearthed 11 screen recordings of alleged WhatsApp calls between Sampath Raj and the persons protesting outside the DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations on the night of August 11. 

The CCB, in its investigation, had concluded that the long-standing rivalry between Sampath Raj and Pulakeshi Nagar MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy was the cause for the riots that occurred in Bengaluru. The CCB has accused Sampath Raj of allegedly concocting and executing a plot to cause unrest. 

During the 2018 Assembly elections, Sampath Raj was an aspirant for the party ticket from Pulakeshi Nagar. However, Srinivas Murthy, who had defected from JD(S) to Congress, was given the ticket to contest. The rivalry between the two leaders has been an open secret in political circles since then, CCB sources said. However, the Congress party’s leaders including Siddaramaiah and the state president DK Shivakumar have vehemently denied the rivalry between the two leaders on multiple occasions. The Congress claimed that the BJP-ruled government was indulging in politicking over the riots that had occurred. 

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