BENGALURU: Considering lapses on the part of the investigating officer and witnesses turning hostile, a Special Court in the city acquitted BJP MP Anant Kumar Hegde in a case related to a speech promoting hatred among people. Noting the failure of the investigating officer in sending the CDs of the controversial speech to a forensic sciences lab, Judge Ramachandra D Huddar of the special court, set up to try criminal cases against MPs and MLAs, pointed out that several issues led to the acquittal of Hegde, Uttara Kannada MP. In the judgement dated February 26, 2020, the court pointed to the delay in lodging the complaint. While the incident occurred on May 7, 2018, the complaint was filed on May 12,, 2018.
The other reason given was that the person who recorded the video turned hostile, saying he did not know the contests of the speech. The two witnesses, who were present during mahazar, too turned hostile. Another man, who was witness to the seizure of CD, also turned hostile. This apart, eyewitnesses, including two members of the flying squad, Nagesh Shetty and Manjunath Sukru, refused to support the prosecution claim. Police officer Vittal Goda, who was on the bandobast duty, referred to the contents of the speech, but said he did not know what all the accused spoke.
“Except the complainant and other witnesses none have supported the case of the prosecution. The prosecution case suffers from material particulars. There are contradictions, omissions and discrepancies in the evidence of prosecution witnesses, which is not properly explained by the prosecution. “It is fatal to the case of prosecution. Therefore, a doubt arises in the case of prosecution and the said benefit has to be extended to the accused person.
Therefore, in this case prosecution has utterly failed to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt. As a result of it, accused is entitled for acquittal,” the judge noted. N Siddeshwara, Returning Officer of Bhatkal Assembly Constituency, had registered a complaint at the Manki Police Station in Honnavara taluk of Uttara Kannada district, under Section 153A of IPC and Section 125 of Representation of People Act, against Hegde.