The Karnataka Police has arrested Congress leader and former Bengaluru mayor R Sampath Raj in connection to Bengaluru riots in which four people were dead. Raj had escaped from a private hospital where he was admitted for the treatment of Covid-19. He was absconding for the past several weeks. During the treatment, he had filed anticipatory bail applications that were rejected.
Karnataka: Congress leader and former Bengaluru Mayor Sampath Raj has been arrested in DJ Halli and KG Halli violence incident case, says Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner, Central Crime Branch— ANI (@ANI) November 16, 2020
As per the reports, police also arrested one of Raj’s associates named Riyazuddin on November 16 and another Congress corporator named Abdul Rakeeb Zakir for helping him escape. The Congress corporator from Devara Jeevanahalli municipal ward was hiding at Nagarhole in Mysuru with the help of Zakir, who was also wanted in the Bengaluru Riots case.
The Bengaluru Riots Case
On August 11 this year, a violent Islamist mob had started rioting in the city over an alleged inflammatory post against Prophet Muhammad by Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy’s relative on Facebook. As per the reports, Raj had sent messages to his aide to gather a mob and attack Murthy’s residence, who is Raj’s political rival.
The mob set Murthy’s residence and other houses in Pulakeshinagar on fire. They also burnt down Devara Jeevanahalli and Kadugondanahalli police stations, suspecting the nephew might be present there. Three people were killed in police firing, while one later died due to injuries he suffered in the riots. The situation came under control on August 12, around 1 AM. More than 300 vehicles were destroyed in the violence.
Involvement of Sampath Raj
In the charge sheet filed by the Central Crime Branch, Sampath Raj was charged for conspiracy of causing violence with the help of Zakir and several others. The investigation agencies said that the Congress leader Sampath Raj had joined hands with radical Islamic organizations such as SDPI to target his own party’s Dalit MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy. CCB named 52 people in the 850-page charge sheet. Raj and Zakir were named accused number 51 and 52, respectively.