Anuradha, who is pursuing justice for her brother's murder, received threat calls a day before she had an appointment with the Mangaluru Police Commissioner.

Slain RTI activists sister receives threats for pursuing murder case 4 years after deathVinayak Baliga and Naresh Shenoy
news Crime Friday, July 31, 2020 - 17:41

Anuradha Baliga, sister of slain RTI activist Vinayak Baliga, received calls threatening her this week against pursuing the case over her brother's death. Vinayak Baliga, an RTI activist and a booth level BJP activist, was murdered in front of his residence in March 2016. The main accused in the case is Naresh Shenoy, a former convenor of the Namo Brigade, a youth organisation floated in Karnataka ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to drum up support for the BJP and Narendra Modi. 

Anuradha, who is pursuing a four-year-old case seeking justice for her brother's murder, took an appointment with the Mangaluru Police Commissioner on July 28. But on the night of July 27, she received calls from a private number threatening her against seeking justice for her brother's death.

"It has been four years and four months since my brother died. I have not received a threat call before. When I picked up the call, the caller spoke in Tulu and warned me against taking up the case. We have submitted the numbers to the police. The threat call means somebody does not want the case to be pursued," Anuradha told TNM.

One of the calls she received was from a number from Malaysia, Anuradha said. She was asked to stay away from the main accused in the case – Naresh Shenoy. Police arrested Nishith Devadiga, 23, and Vinith Poojary, 26, a week after the murder. They were allegedly contracted to murder Vinayak by people associated with Naresh Shenoy. 

The accused in the case are currently out on bail and the trial is yet to commence even though it has been over four years since the murder took place. The investigation in the case is yet to be completed. 

Anuradha filed a complaint with the Mangaluru Police Commissioner on July 28 over the threat calls. “This attempt to intimidate the complainant and witness in a murder case is a serious offence yet action remains pending," said rationalist Narendra Nayak, who is helping Anuradha legally pursue the case.

Background

Vinayak Baliga, an RTI activist who had filed numerous RTI applications to expose corruption, was hacked to death in front of his residence in Mangaluru on March 21 2016. Vinayak was involved in a tussle with officials at the Venkataramana Temple in Mangaluru's Car Street over misappropriation of funds up to Rs 9 crore. He had filed RTI applications seeking information about the temple's accounts. He was a BJP activist and prayed at the temple nearly every day.

Vinayak lived with his parents and two sisters – Anuradha and Harsha – in Kodialbail in Mangaluru when he was murdered. 

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