Atul Rao acquitted in Padmapriya case

PTI, Jun 13, 2024, 11:30 AM IST

Udupi:  K. Atul Rao, accused in the 2008 disappearance and subsequent suicide case of Padmapriya, wife of Former Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhatt, has been acquitted. The judgment was passed by the Second Additional District Court.

Rao faced charges of cheating, fraud, and creating forged documents related to Padmapriya’s disappearance on June 10, 2008, from her home in Karamballi. The case was registered at Manipal police station on June 19, 2008, alleging that Rao, a childhood friend of Bhatt, had fabricated a document in 2008.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officials, who investigated the case, filed a charge sheet against Rao. The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court in Udupi, after conducting a hearing, sentenced Rao to one year of imprisonment on November 10, 2023. Rao subsequently appealed to the District Court.

In the latest hearing, Second Additional District Court Judge Dinesh Hegde ordered Rao’s acquittal. Advocates Arun Bangera and Steven Lewis represented Rao in the case.

The acquittal brings an end to a legal battle that has spanned over a decade, marking a significant development in Udupi’s judicial history.

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