Over a week after a luxury car, allegedly driven by Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka's son, met with an accident that claimed two lives, a Republic TV sting operation has exposed just how the police investigating the case has been involved in what bears clear marks of a cover-up. There seems to be a building of a tacit understanding between ruling BJP and opposition Congress leaders to bury the matter, as even a brat of a Congress legislator is under scanner for a similar incident in Bengaluru.
The car crash took place on February 10, when a speeding red Mercedes Benz carrying five passengers was travelling back to Bengaluru after sightseeing around Hampi, rammed into a tea stall. Two people, including a pedestrian and a car passenger, lost their lives in the accident. The car was allegedly being driven by Ashoka's son, which the minister initially denied but then called for a probe report before drawing any conclusion.
In a video then accessed by Republic TV, it was clearly visible that Sharath was at the rear end of the car when the accident happened, with blood on his right arm. Soon after the incident, Sharath was taken to a private hospital as seen in CCTV footage accessed by Republic TV.
However, in a police report on the incident, the names of all other men in the car were present except Sharath's. Digging to get the truth out, Republic TV talked to eyewitnesses who were at the scene of the crash. They confirmed the presence of R Ashoka's son Sharath in the car at the time of the incident.
A constable involved in the probe has exposed alleged collusion of police and politicians and an attempt to bury the case. Police constable of Sandor, Ashoka M, who is part of the investigation, said that the reason Sharath's name was out of the police report was "politics". The cop smiled and nodded when asked by the reporter whether there was political pressure.
"There are big people involved. This matter will be over," said the cop. He admitted that there is political interference in the probe. "There is a lot of influence. The minister, the CM, the home minister," the constable revealed. He nodded in agreement when suggested that the matter was discussed on the phone.
The cop was told that the minister's son was seated in the car, whose visuals were circulating on social media but later disappeared. "There is some 'golmaal (conspiracy)," the cop said when told that the name of Sharath was missing from the medical documentation of a hospital in Maramanahalli, where he went after the accident.
The cop asserted that Sharath will probably face difficulties for a year or two in relation to the case but then will get a bail. "He will get bail and then get out. The case will be closed," said the cop. When asked how this will happen, he replied, "Phone calls will be made and there is politics involved. The case will be shut." He added that if minister R Ashok makes a phone call, the case will be shut "guaranteed".
The cop made a stunning claim that the case will be shut in two years' time. "One or two years, the case will be over. Rahul - the 'driver' - will be out. Nothing will happen. Only the first 2 years will be a problem. Don't miss a date, the bail will come easily. After six months, you apply for bail, it'll be granted. When there is no evidence, the case will shut," the policeman said.
When Republic TV asked whether no evidence will be submitted, the constable replied affirmatively. "If there is no evidence, the case will be closed. Nothing will happen," said the cop, suggesting that any incriminating evidence may perhaps be wiped out to save the accused.
It is 'Save the brat' operation in Karnataka that is cutting through party lines. In a rare phenomenon, the BJP and Congress have come together for a common cause. Mohammad Nalapad, the son of Congress MLA NA Harris, rammed his luxury car into vehicles, injuring four people on a Bengaluru road. When confronted by Republic TV, Nalapad alleged that the police were trying to frame him.