Cong ex-mayor behind Bengaluru violence: Police chargesheet

Bengaluru: Former Congress Mayor S Sampath Raj had instigated a mob here on August 11 against MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, to finish him politically, police alleged in its charge sheet.

The Central Crime Branch probing the case relating to the violence that broke out in the city over an ‘inflammatory’ post had on Monday filed the preliminary chargesheet in a local court, naming Sampath Raj and another person as accused.

Three people were killed after police opened fire on the night of August 11 to quell a mob that went on a rampage in a city locality, irked over a social media post allegedly put out by a Congress legislator Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy’s relative.

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Scores, including around 50 policemen, were injured in the violence, apparently triggered by the online post.

The Pulakeshi Nagar MLA’s residence and a police station at D J Halli were among those targeted by the angry mob.

The rioters also torched many police and private vehicles, badly damaged the house and looted the belongings of MLA Murthy and those of his sister.

So far, 421 people have been arrested, including the Social Democratic Party of India leader Muzammil Pasha.

Murthy was among the seven rebel JD(S) MLAs who had joined the Congress on March 25, 2018, ahead of the general Assembly elections.

While the party received Murthy wholeheartedly, it did not go down well with DJ Halli ward corporator Sampath Raj, who was aspiring for a Congress ticket from the Pulakeshinagar assembly constituency and had worked extensively to gain a foothold for himself, the chargesheet claimed.

The Congress offered ticket to Murthy from Pulakeshinagar while DJ Halli Congress corporator Sampath Raj was asked to contest from CV Raman Nagar Assembly constituency.

In the elections, Sampath Raj lost to the BJP candidate S Raghu.

Since then, Sampath Raj wanted to finish Murthy ‘politically.’

The police further stated that three months ago, Sampath Raj and his associates had hatched a plot and held a meeting at Haseena hall within DJ Halli police station limits.

The Bengaluru violence was triggered by a social media post uploaded by Murthy’s nephew Naveen, but “there was anger simmering against the ban on Triple Talaq, Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and the foundation laying of Ram Temple.”

“To cause a commotion by instigating Muslims, some of the accused used to hold meetings often. They got an opportunity when Murthy’s nephew Naveen made an objectionable social media post,” the chargesheet said.

The screen shot of Naveen’s post was widely circulated to instigate the mob.

“To execute the conspiracy hatched three months ago, Sampath Raj used the objectionable social media post,” it added.

Earlier in the day, the Congress rejected police’s attribution of internal party rivalry as the reason for attack on its MLA Srinivas Murthy’s house during the violence.

Blaming the government for the incident, KPCC President D K Shivakumar said allegations were part of the conspiracy against his party and accused the police of acting as agents of the ruling BJP.

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