Bengaluru, Aug 1 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated on Tuesday that he would consider whether there is any provision to make an appeal for re-investigation of the case relating to rape and murder of 17-year-old girl Sowjanya in 2012.
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said that the Sowjanya case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The parents have appealed for re-investigation. “We will take a decision on what should be the future course of action as per legal terms,” he said.
“As an advocate, in my opinion, an appeal should be filed before the High Court in this regard. I have not seen the CBI court judgment of the case. The parents of Sowjanya have given the copy of judgment. I will study the judgment and see whether there is any provision to make an appeal for re-investigation of the case,” CM Siddaramaiah maintained.
Meanwhile, Duniya Vijay, popular Kannada actor, stated on social media on Tuesday that every year he would visit Hindu pilgrimage center in the state Dharmasthala and take the darshan of the deity. “But, after following the developments in the Sowjanya case, I feel that until justice is given to Sowjanya’s parents I wouldn’t want to take darshan of lord Manjunatha (deity of Dharmasthala),” Vijay stated.
He further quoted lord Buddha that truth is like the ray of the Sun. No one can hide it for a long time. The post has gone viral on social media and stirred a huge controversy in the state. Duniya Vijay had also started the hashtag ‘Justice for Sowjanya’.
Commenting on the inclination of the CM Siddaramaiah for re-investigation of Sowjanya rape and murder case, Stanley, who had taken up a movement in connection with the case reacted that there is no meaning in making an appeal petition to the court. The re-investigation should be conducted under the guidance of a senior judge.
“The Hon’ble CM should take a fearless, legally bound and humane step with regard to this matter. This appeal is made on behalf of all citizens of the state,” Stanley stated.
Sowjanya was kidnapped on October 9, 2012 on way to her home in Ujire near Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district. She was studying in Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College. The next day her body was found near Nethravathi River, close to her house in the forests. The body was found half naked. One of her hands was tied with her dupatta to a tree. The police found that her genitals were soiled.
The news spread like wildfire and thousands of people gathered to demand justice. The fingers were pointed towards family members of the powerful religious leader of the region. Amid the furore, the police arrested one Santhosh Rao on October 11 and claimed that he had raped and killed Sowjanya.
It is alleged that police coming under political pressure had not bothered to videograph the spot or the body. No experts were brought to comb the area and no samples were collected from the dead body.
The protestors and family members of Sowjanya raised suspicions against Malik Jain, an accountant with the Dharmasthala Trust, Dheeraj, son of a senior manager in the Annapoorna Trust and Nischal Jain, the nephew of Rajyasabha member D. Veerendra Heggade. However, Veerendra Heggde claimed that Nischal Jain was in New York when the incident took place. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took the three men into custody and and released them after interrogation.
Though the family of Sowjanya approached courts challenging the release of the three men along with the accused, the higher courts did not allow the petition. The case was later handed over to the CBI for further investigation.
On June 16, the CBI Special Court acquitted the arrested accused Santhosh Rao of all the charges and the court also ordered a probe against those who investigated the case for turning blind eye towards collecting crucial evidence in the due course of time. The judgment raised concern among public and raised serious questions on the real culprits in the rape and murder case of Sowjanya.
The suspicion was raised as an eyewitness Ravi Poojari, a security guard, who saw Sowjanya alighting from the bus and walking towards home, had died suspiciously. Though it was concluded as a case of suicide, it is alleged that he was killed. The CBI charge sheet mentioned Santhosh Rao as the lone accused.
The issue has now come to the forefront again in Karnataka. Rajya Sabha MP Veerendra Heggade reacting to allegations of hushing up the case had stated that attempts are made to bring disrepute and defame the Hindu pilgrimage centre Dharmasthala.