BENGALURU: Two senior officials arraigned in a caste atrocity case sought anticipatory bail on Tuesday.
Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, Backward Classes Welfare Department, and H R Hiremath, a KAS officer, are defendants in a case filed by a superintending engineer recommended for suspension. They face charges under the SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
During the hearing at a sessions court on Tuesday, Public Prosecutor Ashok M Talawar opposed grant of bail. The judge posted the case to January 12 for orders.
Shalini Rajneesh is Vice-President and Hiremath Executive Director of the Karnataka Residential Educational Institutions Society, an organisation run by the Karnataka government. The complainant is Venkatadri, Superintendent Engineer of the society.
The public prosecutor submitted the two officials had to be arrested so that investigators could record their statements. The case is registered under Section 18 of the Act, offences under which are non-bailable, he said.
Vidhana Soudha police told Express the officials were neither under arrest nor were they absconding. “We will arrest them if the court asks us to do so,” he said.
Venkatadri’s parent department is Public Works, and he was on deputation at the Department of Social Welfare since July 2014, his counsel Shankarappa said.
Though Venkatadri approved 40 housing quarters and 142 other works promptly, Hiremath recommended his suspension to Shalini Rajneesh.
She wrote to the government on September 23, 2015, to keep Venkatadri under suspension, Shankarappa told the court.
He also alleged Shalini Rajneesh had delayed repair work estimates and harassed Venkatadri, besides discriminating against him as he is a Dalit.
Not Afraid: Shalini Rajneesh
Vidhana Soudha police had registered an FIR against Shalini Rajneesh and Hiremath on December 22. In their bail plea on Tuesday, they denied superintending engineer Venkatadri’s allegations. They said he had misappropriated funds, and not submitted his caste certificate and work estimates. When Express called Shalini Rajneesh, she said, ‘’I am at a training programme and will return to Bengaluru on January 8. If I were afraid, I would not have initiated an inquiry against Venkatadri.”