‘No material to transfer probe of cases against Munirathna to CBI’

High Court directs State police chief to nominate senior police officer to supervise further probe against MLA

Observing that there is no material at this stage to transfer criminal cases against Munirathna, Rajarajeshwarinagar MLA, to an independent agency, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the State police chief to designate a senior police officer to supervise further investigation being carried out against him in two cases of alleged illegalities during Assembly elections in May 2018.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order while disposing a PIL petition, filed in February 2020 by Anand Kumar N. and Santosh Kumar G., sympathisers of BJP and residents of Bengaluru city.

The Bench passed the order after going through a report, submitted by Additional Commissioner of Police (East zone, Bengaluru city). The court on November 11 had directed the State police chief to examine correctness of conducting probe against the MLA by appointing a senior police officer.

Under progress

The report, the Bench noted, had pointed out certain lacunae in the investigations carried out earlier, and clarified that some of them have been remedied and some would be correct during the course of further investigation, which is under progress.

The Bench also noticed from the report that the Additional Commissioner had dealt with the allegations made in the petitions besides hearing them. The Bench took note of the remark made in the report that the petitioners and some other witnesses were not cooperating with the probe. However, the Bench said that investigating officers, while conducting further probe, are required to bear in mind the allegations made in the petitions.

Also, the Bench said it cannot go into the merits of the probe while observing that the court cannot take petitioners’ allegation on face value as there could be political rivalry between them and the MLA.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had several months ago shown its unwillingness to take up the investigation of the two cases, the Bench noted, while stating no case had been made to transfer the probe to an independent agency like the CBI.

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