Bengaluru: Big relief for Yediyurappa in POCSO case; High Court stays his arrest

PTI, Jun 14, 2024, 5:18 PM IST

Bengaluru: Karnataka High Court on Friday restrained the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) from arresting former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in connection with a POCSO case registered against him.

It also directed the veteran BJP leader to appear before the CID, which is probing the case, on June 17.

A Bengaluru court on Thursday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Yediyurappa in the case registered against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on March 14 this year.

The Special Investigation Team of the CID had moved the First Fast Track Court seeking an arrest warrant against him since he failed to appear for questioning on Wednesday.

Yediyurappa had sought time to join the probe.

According to reports, the veteran BJP leader has gone to an “undisclosed” location in New Delhi.

According to police, Yediyurappa has been booked under the POCSO Act and Section 354 A (Sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) based on a complaint by the mother of a 17-year-old girl who alleged that he molested her daughter during a meeting on February two this year, at his residence in Dollars Colony here.

Yediyurappa, who has denied the charge and said he would fight the case legally, had filed two separate petitions in the High Court, seeking anticipatory bail and quashing of the FIR.

The High Court, which adjourned the hearing for two weeks, during the hearing observed that the 81-year-old Yediyurappa is now in the sunset of his life and it is not appropriate to arrest him.

Noting that Yediyurappa had sent a letter to the police volunteering to appear for inquiry on July 17, Justice Krishna S Dixit said, “the court cannot jump to the conclusion that a case is made out for arrest or detention or for custodial interrogation of the petitioner who happens to be the former Chief Minister of the state and in the late evening of his life with ailments natural to that age.”

Senior Advocate C V Nagesh appeared for Yediyurappa and argued that the latter had been served notice under 41 (a) of CrPC and, hence, there was no requirement for his arrest.

Nagesh also cited Supreme Court verdicts and requested the court to grant anticipatory bail.

On behalf of the Government, Advocate General Shashi Kiran Shetty appeared and tried to convince the court by saying Yediyurappa skipped two notices served by SIT.

Shetty also said that an arrest warrant was necessary since Yediyurappa is not in Karnataka, adding that without a warrant other state police would not support them to take the accused into custody.

Nagesh countered this by arguing that Yediyurappa had already appeared for questioning, given his voice sample and completely cooperated with the police.

On the other hand, the advocate appearing for the victim, senior Advocate Balan told the court that the police did not investigate the case properly and hence the arrest was needed. He also said the accused is highly influential and to protect the evidence from being tampered with, it is necessary to take him into custody and continue the investigation.

Nagesh drew the attention of the court regarding other cases filed by the victim’s 54-year-old mother, who passed away recently, against her own son and husband.

The victim’s brother had filed a petition in the court earlier this week alleging that though the case was registered on March 14, no progress has been made in the investigation. The petitioner prayed that Yediyurappa should be arrested and interrogated.
After the Sadashivanagar police registered the case in March, the Karnataka Director General of Police Alok Mohan had issued an order transferring it to the CID for further investigation.
In April, the CID collected the voice sample of Yediyurappa after summoning him to the office.

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