Mangaluru: Did the state police botch it up while submitting crucial evidence like the clippings of photos of the 2009 Mangaluru pub attack in court? On Monday, a local court had acquitted all 26 accused in the infamous attack case, citing lack of evidence.
A video of the girls in Amnesia pub being slapped and brutally assaulted outside the pub had gone viral at that time but surprisingly, these clippings were not submitted to the court by police officials while filing the chargesheet! It was then alleged that a group of activists of Sri Rama Sene, headed by Pramod Muthalik, were behind the attack which was the first major incident of moral policing after the BJP came to power in 2008.
The only documents that were reportedly submitted in court were the trade licence, liquor licence, list of rules of the pub and also the medical certificate of an injured male victim.
The police also informed the court that they tried to find the female victims but failed! Sources said one of the constraints in filing the clippings could be that the female victims did not want to be identified. "It was a high profile case and video clippings and photographs were important evidence. It is shocking to know that the police did not add it in the chargesheet. The videos and photos of such cases are usually submitted in court. I don't know why they were not added," Karnataka Komu Sauhardha Vedike district president Suresh Bhat said. He felt that even if the previous BJP government had failed to submit the evidence, the present Congress government could have made amends by directing the officials to add the clippings. DYFI state president Muneer Katipalla too expressed his unhappiness over the failure of the government in presenting a strong case. "People overthrew the BJP government because of incidents of moral policing. The Congress came to power promising to fight communal elements and should have ensured that the accused were punished." A senior criminal lawyer, said the photos and video could have been added in an additional chargesheet anytime before the closure of the case. "The chargesheet is filed under section 173 of the CrPC. If police officials had come across any additional material, they could have added it in the supplementary chargesheet under CrPC 173(8) anytime in the last nine years before the verdict," the lawyer who preferred not to be named, added.