The court remanded Ravi Belagere to judicial custody till December 23.

No bail for Bengaluru editor Ravi Belagere accused of hiring hitmen to kill colleagueFacebook page
news Crime Monday, December 11, 2017 - 14:54

Controversial Bengaluru-based tabloid editor Ravi Belagere was denied bail by the First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Bengaluru on Monday. His lawyers had sought bail on grounds of his poor health.

The journalist – who has been accused of hiring hitmen to kill Sunil Heggaravalli, his colleague at the Hi Bangalore newspaper – has been remanded to judicial custody till December 23.

“We have taken him for a medical check-up prior to the hearing,” an official of the Central Crime Branch, which is probing the case, told TNM.

Belagere had earlier been admitted to hospital on Sunday, and his blood pressure and heart condition were monitored. He was discharged later in the day.

The editor was arrested on Friday afternoon by CCB sleuths, for allegedly hiring two hitmen to kill Sunil, as he suspected the latter of having an illicit relationship with his second wife Yashomati. Belagere’s arrest came after two men, Tahir Hussain and Shashidhar Ramachadra Mundewadi, were picked up by the police in an arms case.

During interrogation, the two men reportedly incriminated Belagere, with Shashidar telling the police that he and another man named Viju Badiger had been contracted by the editor to kill Sunil.

The CCB has launched a manhunt for Viju, after an attempt to nab him from his Vijaypura residence failed on Sunday.

Fresh complaint

Meanwhile, Sunil filed a fresh complaint at the Subramanyapura Police Station on Sunday, alleging that Belagere had called and threatened him while in police custody.

In his complaint, Sunil alleged that Belagere called him on Sunday morning from the phone belonging to a common friend named Madhu.

“When I answered the call, someone said: Wait a minute, Ravi anna will talk. Then Ravi Belagere spoke in an intimidating tone and asked me if I had told the media about having a relationship with Yashomathy (Belagere’s second wife). I told him that I did not, and that I did not have any relationship with her,” Sunil’s complaint reads.   

According to sources in the CCB, Belagere is cooperating with his interrogators, but refuses to answer the question of why he had allegedly hired hitmen to kill Sunil.

“He has answered most of the questions, but is not opening his mouth when we ask him why he gave the supari. His silence suggests that he has done something. However, we will continue questioning him till we get a satisfactory answer,” an official said.

Besides Belagere, Lokesh Koppad, another reporter of Hi Bangalore, is also being questioned by CCB sleuths.

“Based on call records, Lokesh Koppad had made phone calls to sharp shooter Shashidhar. Ravi Belagere used to call him from Lokesh’s phone. Koppad was also present when Belagere handed over the revolver and bullets, along with a knife to kill Sunil,” a senior police officer said.

Belagere’s implication in the alleged plot to kill Sunil comes just days after the Karnataka High Court granted him relief in a privileges case, in which the state Assembly sentenced him to a year in prison for publishing defamatory articles on a legislator.

 

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