The crimes that made waves in Karnataka this year included the gruesome murder of a model by her cab driver in the state capital to the case of a studentâ€™s suicide in a Bengaluru college that took many twists and turns, and the match fixing scandal in the Karnataka Premier League.
Here are some of the most appalling crimes that shook Karnataka in 2019.
1. When a cab driver killed a model
The murder of Pooja Singh De, 32, a model-cum-event manager from Kolkata, while on her way to the airport, allegedly by her cab driver, shocked Bengaluru in July. The model was found with head injuries and multiple stab injuries.
On investigation by the police, the cab driver was caught and confessed that he had killed Pooja while trying to rob her to pay for his vehicle EMIs. When he found that the victim didnâ€™t have much money with her, he allegedly decided to kill her and dispose of the body.
2. When college authorities were booked in a studentâ€™s suicide
Bengaluruâ€™s Amrita Engineering College made headlines in October when a student from the college, Sri Harsha, took his own life citing harassment by the college authorities. The college was allegedly pressuring Harsha to confess to a vandalism incident in the college, even though another person had confessed to it and had stated that Harsha was not involved. Students gathered in protest and demanded justice.
Later, the police booked 10 staff members for tampering with evidence and abetment to suicide. One of the staff booked had also been named in a 2012 case of abetment to suicide in the college.
3. When wild mongooses were killed for illegal paintbrushes
Thousands of mongooses are killed to make brushes for artists, who believe that natural bristles hold colour better than synthetic bristles. However, the mongoose is a protected animal and killing it for fur is illegal. The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau seized 54,352 brushes made of mongoose hair and arrested 43 people across six states, including Karnataka, in connection with the crime in October.
4. When a scandal broke out in the state premier league
Betting in cricket is not new in India. The Chennai Super Kings team had been given a two-year suspension by the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting July 2015 for the alleged involvement of their owners in the 2013 IPL betting case.
The crime seems to have moved to state-level games now. Four players from various teams of the Karnataka Premier League were held in a case of alleged betting and match fixing. The Central Crime Branch is now investigating the case.
5. When small-time Muslim investors were defrauded to the tune of crores
The IMA scam lost a politician his seat, hundreds of investors their money, and prompted the founder of the company to flee to the Gulf.
TNM reported that the companyâ€™s books were cooked to show large profits, which lured investors into making large deposits into the company. However, it turned out to be nothing more than a pyramid scheme. When all was revealed, many investors took to the streets to demand the return of their money. The fact that MLA Roshan Baigâ€™s name was brought up in the scam also resulted in him not being brought into the BJP fold when he rebelled and left the Congress.
6. When a rape-accused â€˜godmanâ€™ fled to an undisclosed location
TNM broke a lot of stories on the escapades of the controversial self-styled godman and rape-accused Nithyananda in 2019. Whether it was reports on his whereabouts or the fact that he had registered a new country called â€˜Kailaasaâ€™ in his name, there was no end to the news that Nithyananda produced. His Gujarat ashram was recently razed to the ground after several allegations of child abuse, rape and fraud, especially after the mysterious death that occurred in the ashram. Meanwhile, Nithyananda is absconding and the international law enforcement community is on the lookout for him.
7. When activists attacked a doctor over language
The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) is infamous for its protests against Hindi imposition and its fight for Kannada in public spaces in the state. However, its activism might have gone a step too far when its members attacked a doctor in Bengaluru last month for speaking in English instead of Kannada. Charges were filed against the involved members under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 506 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult), 149 (unlawful assembly), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt).