Bengaluru: Editors of two Kannada tabloids sentenced by the assembly to a year in jail for defaming two ruling Congress lawmakers have not been arrested as one is hospitalised while the other one has been missing since Saturday, police said on Monday.
Meanwhile, media sources said that the two will move the high court against the conviction and sentence
“We have not arrested Hai Bangalore editor Ravi Belagere or Yelahanka Voice editor Anil Raj though we got arrest warrants from the assembly for breach of privilege and criticising lawmakers,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, South Bengaluru, S.D. Sharanappa told IANS.
Belagere, 59, was admitted to a private hospital on Saturday at Dharwad, about 400 km from here, after he complained of chest pain and uneasiness.
“We have been waiting for Belagere’s discharge after which we will arrest him. He will be lodged in the central jail here,” said Sharanappa.
The two editors were held guilty by the assembly of criticising lawmakers, including Speaker K.B. Koliwad.
Koliwad, on June 21, issued bailable arrest warrants on the recommendation of the assembly’s privileges committee, sentencing the two editors to one year jail and a Rs 10,000 fine each for defaming him, fellow ruling party lawmakers B.M. Nagaraj and S.R. Vishwanath in their tabloids over the last two years.
A hospital spokesperson, however, told IANS on phone that Belagere was discharged earlier on Monday and left for Bengaluru as he was feeling better. He did not want to wait for the duty doctor to come and certify his recovery from illness, the spokesperson added.
Sharanappa however said that they had no information as to when Belagere left the hospital and where he went. “We will verify with the hospital and find out his location,” he added.
An employee of Belagere’s tabloid told IANS that his editor was not seen in the city or at his home town.
About Raj’s absence from his office or residence here, Sharanappa said he was unaware of his whereabouts as the location was not under his jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Yelahanka Inspector A.G. Nanjundaiah told IANS they have not been able to arrest Raj as he is missing from his office and home since Saturday and they were waiting for him to return sp they could take him into custody.
In 2014, the two lawmakers petitioned the privileges committee against Belagere for offending them with news articles in their tabloids that were derogatory and tarnished their image in the public.
Taking cue from his colleagues, Vishwanath too complained to the privileges committee against Raj for writing defamatory articles against him in his tabloid.
The committee’s recommendation was considered and adopted by the lawmakers before the assembly was adjourned sine die on Friday.