HC dismisses plea to arraign Munirathna, two others

The High Court of Karnataka has dismissed a petition seeking direction to arraign Munirathna, MLA of Rajarajeshwarinagar, his wife, and a film producer as additional accused in a criminal case of 2014 on alleged fabrication of bills to appropriate public money to the tune of ₹120 crore of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) without doing any civil work.

Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the order while rejecting the petition filed by Amruthesh N.P., a city-based advocate.

The petitioner had questioned the June 15, 2018, order passed by a special court dismissing his application to arraign the MLA, his wife Manjula, and producer Rama Babu as the Lokayukta police, who had seized certain documents pertaining to the case from a premises belong to the MLA’s wife, had not arraigned them as accused in the charge sheet.

The High Court rejected the petition citing multiples reasons like the petitioner being a stranger to the case and that there was no special circumstance to entertain his plea as he had not produced any material to implicate the trio.

The petitioner wanted a direction to arraign them as accused by treating as “confession” the contents of statement of Mr. Munirathna, recorded by the Lokayukta police under Section 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

‘Far fetched’

However, the High Court termed this contention as “too far-fetched an argument” while observing that “by no stretch of imagination, it can be construed as an admission, much less a confession… there is nothing in the statement to implicate him.”

“From the bulky prosecution papers, not even a leaf is shown to contain the names of these persons,” the court observed, while pointing out that even the de facto complainant, Y.H. Shrinivas of Bhrastaachaara Virodhi Vedike, in his examination had not whispered anything against them.

The court wondered as to why the petitioner sought to arraign Ms. Manjula as an accused in the absence of any material against her except the house, from where certain documents were seized, being registered in her name. The court also did not find anything wrong on the part of the Lokayukta police in opposing the petitioner’s plea to arraign Mr. Munirathna as an accused.

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