My father is not guilty: Daughter of arrested tabloid editor

Updated: Dec 10, 2017, 15:12 IST | PTI

The daughter of a leading Kannada tabloid editor, who was arrested for allegedly hiring a contract killer to eliminate his journalist colleague

The daughter of a leading Kannada tabloid editor, who was arrested for allegedly hiring a contract killer to eliminate his journalist colleague, today said that her father was "not guilty" and would come out of the case "safely". Ravi Belagere, who brings out 'Hai Bangalore', was arrested yesterday from his house here on charges of hiring a 'supari' killer from Vijayapura in north Karnataka to kill Sunil Heggaravalli.

Representational Picture
Representational Picture

"No one has filed an FIR in this case based on a complaint filed by someone. It is a suo-motu case by the police based on Shahi's (the contract killer) statement. There is no meaning in it," Bhavana claimed. "I'm very confident, he (Belagere) is not guilty. He has not done anything and will be out of it safely very soon," she told reporters in Dharwad. Bhavana said that she has been advised by lawyers not to issue statements on the case and that the evidence, the police have is just a statement and the case cannot stand based on it.

"My dad is a great man, he is a fighter, he will come out fighting," she added. Belagere was produced before a magistrate at his residence last night and was remanded in four days police custody. The police stumbled on the alleged plot when the contract killer, Shashidhar Mundewadi, was being questioned in connection with the probe into the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at her house by unidentified assailants here on September 5. Official sources said that the City Crime Branch was questioning Belagere.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, commenting on the case, said that the police would do their work according to the law. "I don't know. Police might have evidence, they will work according to the law," he said. Yesterday, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Satish Kumar claimed that Mundewadi had stated during interrogation that Belagere gave him 'supari' to kill Heggaravalli Based on the inputs, Belagare was arrested and a pistol and a double barrel gun was seized from him, he had said. Kumar also said that Belagere wanted to kill Heggaravalli for "personal reasons" and that an FIR was registered at the Subrahmanyapura police station.

Belagere was in news after the Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed a resolution sentencing him and Anil Raju, editor of tabloid 'Yelahanka Voice', to one year in jail. Fines of Rs 10,000 each was also imposed on them for their alleged defamatory articles against state legislators. The assembly had recently rejected a plea by both the journalists to reconsider its decision. On a petition by the journalists, the Karnataka High Court had earlier this week directed the assembly not to pursue the proceedings until further orders.

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