‘Not Tom, Dick or Harry to flee’: Karnataka HC prevents Yediyurappa’s arrest in POCSO case

The court has directed Yediyurappa to appear before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on June 17.
CM BS Yediyurappa
CM BS Yediyurappa
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The Karnataka High Court has restrained the Criminal Investigation Department from arresting former CM BS Yediyurappa in connection with a POCSO case and has directed him to appear before the Special Investigation Team investigating the case on June 17.

The court’s direction came on Friday, June 14, following a letter from Yediyurappa’s counsel stating his willingness to cooperate with the investigation. A Bengaluru fast-track court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Yediyurappa on Thursday, June 13. 

Justice Krishna Dixit questioned the necessity of arresting a former Chief Minister. According to Bar and Bench, Advocate General Shashi Kiran Shetty told the court, “After notice was issued by the police to Yediyurappa on June 11 to appear, he booked a ticket to Delhi and thereafter claimed he had "already left to Delhi" by plane for party commitments. The ticket was booked only after notice was issued to him." 

The court dismissed concerns that Yediyurappa would flee, stating, "He is not some Tom, Dick, or Harry. He is a former Chief Minister of the state. Is it your case that he will flee the country? What can he do by leaving for Delhi from Bangalore?"

The court during the hearing also remarked, “If an ex-Chief Minister is treated that way, I am just wildly thinking what will happen to the layman.”

The judge then ordered that “coercive proceedings, including arrest and detention, are to be kept on hold until the next date of the hearing.” Yediyurappa is required to present himself before the jurisdictional police on June 17, as per his letter.

“We cannot immediately jump to the conclusion that a case is made for arrest and detention for custodial interrogation of the petitioner, who has been a former Chief Minister of the state and is of advanced age with ailments natural to that age,” the judge said before restraining the police from arresting the 81-year-old politician. 

“It is a good order from the victim’s point of view because the court has told him to appear before the SIT. Yediyurappa had sought quashing of the FIR and a stay on the investigation, neither of which were granted,” Advocate S Balan told TNM. He had filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court on behalf of the minor’s brother demanding Yediyurappa’s arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting his 17-year-old sister on February 2.

However, Balan said that there were many lapses in the investigation which still need to be looked into. The petition he filed with the HC demanding the former CM’s arrest, also pointed out these lapses.

Balan said that the police had not seized CCTV footage from Yediyurappa’s house, where the alleged incident had occurred. The police had not recovered digital evidence such as mobile phones and DNA evidence. Asked how DNA evidence could be collected when the FIR was filed one month after the alleged asssault, Balan said, “There are instances in which police have recovered DNA evidence months after the assault. Why was no attempt even made to collect evidence, including clothing?”

He also pointed out that attempts were made in court to vilify the complainant — the minor’s mother, who died in May.

During the hearing the judge Justice Krishna Dixit asked about the many complaints that the mother of the minor had filed. According to Bar and Bench, the Advocate General provided a complete break up. He told the court that 53 petitions had been filed to senior police officers, 23 were filed for re-investigation of the POCSO case, 15 petitions pertained to business disputes, petitions against the police and 6 petitions against others.

The warrant was issued following a plea by the CID after Yediyurappa failed to respond to a notice sent to him on June 12. The notice was issued two days after a writ petition seeking his arrest was filed in the Karnataka High Court.

On June 14, the Karnataka High Court heard two petitions filed by Yediyurappa. He sought anticipatory bail following the issuance of the non-bailable warrant and quashing of the POCSO case against him.

Yediyurappa has been accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at his house in Bengaluru’s Sanjaynagar on February 2. 

A POCSO case was registered against Yediyurappa on March 14, after the girl’s mother filed a complaint at the Sadashivanagar police station. Yediyurappa allegedly sexually assaulted the 17-year-old  girl when she and her mother approached Yediyurappa at his residence seeking help because the minor had been previously sexually assaulted. In the FIR, the mother had alleged that Yediyurappa assaulted the child in a room at his residence. The case has been handed over to CID. 

On May 26, the mother passed away, after being taken to Nano Hospital for breathing difficulties.

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