|Representative Image of National Investigation Agency | TIH Photo|
Bengaluru Riots Case 2020: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) searched seven places in Karnataka on Saturday as part of its investigation into the August 2020 attacks on two police stations in Bengaluru’s DJ Halli and KG Halli.
“NIA conducted simultaneous searches at 7 locations in Bengaluru City, Karnataka, today (07.08.2021). Seven absconding charge-sheeted accused persons were searched at their homes in RC-34/2020/NIA/DLI and RC-35/2020/NIA/DLI, according to an official statement.
Various incriminating documents and electronic equipment were recovered from the absconding accused persons’ homes during the searches, according to the statement.
The Karnataka High Court granted default bail to 115 people detained in the case on June 16, but put on hold a trial court judgement that extended the investigation time by another 90 days since it was legally unsustainable.
After failing to complete the investigation within the allotted 90 days, the NIA applied to the trial court for an extension under the 1967 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). In November of last year, the trial court granted a 90-day extension, and petitioners’ pleas for default bail were denied in January of this year. Pasha and the other defendants then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The HC pointed out that the prosecution’s appeal for an extension of time to complete the investigation without telling the accused would jeopardise their inalienable right to statutory bail.
A Facebook post by Naveen P, nephew of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy from the Pulakeshinagar constituency, sparked the violence. A mob gathered in the DJ Halli and KG Halli regions on August 11 last year after police requested more time to investigate a complaint made against the post, which was deemed disparaging to Muslims, according to the police complaint filed on August 11.
At 7.45 p.m. on August 11, Pasha, an accused in the case, went to the DJ Halli police station with a complaint against Naveen. According to the FIR, the attacks began at 9.30 p.m. and ended in the early hours of August 12 after MLAs and other prominent figures assembled at the site. According to police, four persons were killed in the clashes.
In this instance, 68 FIRs were filed. They used the UAPA’s sections 15 and 16 (terrorist activity penalty), section 18 (conspiracy to conduct a terrorist act), and section 20 (membership in a terrorist organisation) in two FIRs. This was the most individuals ever charged under the UAPA in Karnataka for a single episode of violence.
The accused were charged with the most serious offences by the Bengaluru Police barely days after a fact-finding commission chaired by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Aravind Lambavalli urged an inquiry by the National Investigation Agency.
On September 11, 2020, the central agency took over the investigation into the case.