BANGALORE: Upset by a blocked road in Banaswadi, KR Puram MLA Byrathi Basavaraj allegedly slapped a traffic constable on Friday.
The police, however, have not registered a case against Basavaraj, describing the incident as just a minor altercation. Beema Lamani, attached to Pulikeshinagar traffic police station, was managing the traffic on the busy Banaswadi road when the Congress MLA flew into a rage over a block in his way. Lamani told Express, “Around 3.30 pm, Basavaraj was going in his car towards KR Puram. I was on duty on the main road near Jai Bharath Nagar. That is when he got angry and hit me.”
A lorry loaded with sand had broken down, throwing the traffic out of gear. “The MLA called me and asked me why the traffic wasn’t moving. I told him the reason. He got angry and slapped me,” Lamani said. Basavaraj allegedly tried to slap him a second time and abused him in foul language. “After a while, he left the scene and I informed my seniors,” the constable said.
Senior officers, however, tried to hush up the incident, even going to the extent of saying no such incident had taken place. As TV channels went to town with the story, a senior traffic policeman claimed the media had cooked it up. B Dayananda, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), sang yet another tune and described the incident as a spat rather than an assault.
“The traffic policeman and the MLA had an argument. The constable was not slapped. That is why we have not registered a case against the MLA,” he said.
Express tried to contact Basavaraj but his phone remained switched off all evening.
Who is Basavaraj?
Byrathi Basavaraj, a close confidant of CM Siddaramaiah, is a first-time MLA from KR Puram constituency in Bangalore. He is a real-estate developer and belongs to the Kuruba community, like Siddaramaiah.