Bengaluru: City based journalist S.A. Hemanth Kumar was arrested here Saturday for allegedly circulating a “fake letter,” purportedly written by home minister M.B. Patil to Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi in 2017 which allegedly has the Congress leader pushed for granting religion tag to the Lingayat sect.
Mr Patil has termed the letter fake and alleged that it was a conspiracy against him by his rivals.
Inspector General of Police CID, economic offence wing and cyber crime Hemant Nimbalkar said that Hemant Kumar, special correspondent of a Delhi based English and Hindi magazine, who has worked with several city newspapers before that, was arrested here Saturday, shortly after he returned from participating in a debate at a local television studio.
Police barged into the office and arrested Hemanth Kumar, who is reportedly a BJP sympathiser.
He was arrested “based on credible evidence corroborated by an oral statement,” police said. Detained for questioning, after another suspect in the case who was arrested earlier, brought up his alleged involvement, he was produced before a court, which granted police custody of Hemanth Kumar till April 30, police said.
The ‘letter’ had first emerged during the Karnataka Assembly elections in 2018. It resurfaced during the current Lok Sabha election with BJP first publishing it on its Twitter handle on April 15.
Condemning the arrest, a delegation of BJP leaders, led by MLAs Arvind Limbavali and Suresh Kumar submitted a memorandum to the Director General of Police Neelamani M. Raju.
Evidently embarrassed over the arrest of senior journalist and office secretary S A Hemanth Kumar, state BJP leaders on Saturday condemned the high handed manner in which officers of CID took him away for interrogation and arrested him without even issuing a notice on the nature of charges.
The leaders-former ministers S Suresh Kumar, Aravind Limbavalli and others-submitted a memorandum to Director General of Police (DGP) Neelamani Raju demanding the immediate release of Mr Hemanth Kumar while complaining about highhandedness of police officers who allegedly barged into the party office to arrest him on charges of circulating a fake letter written by home minister M B Patil to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on the issue of granting separate religion status for Lingayats..
Immediately after their meeting with the DGP, Mr Aravind Limbavali told the media that Mrs Raju did not offer any assurance about their demand for release of Mr Hemanth Kumar as Mr Patil was directly handling the case. While seeking an immediate release of Mr Hemanth Kumar, the leaders threatened to seek the intervention of Union minister Rajnath Singh to stop the harassment of BJP workers and sympathizers....