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Bengaluru Riots: Congress Leader Arrested on Charges of Instigating Mob

Two-wheelers that were set on fire by the mob in Bengaluru. (Image: Sudhakar/News18)

Two-wheelers that were set on fire by the mob in Bengaluru. (Image: Sudhakar/News18)

This is the second high-profile arrest by the CCB in the last fortnight after the police arrested former Bengaluru mayor and Congress leader R Sampath Raj.

The Bengaluru Central Crime Branch (CCB) in the wee hours of Thursday morning arrested Congress party leader and former corporator, Abdul Rakeeb Zakir in connection with the Bengaluru Riot case.

This is the second high-profile arrest by the CCB in the last fortnight after the police arrested former Bengaluru mayor and Congress leader R Sampath Raj.

Former BBMP corporator Zakir went off the police radar since October after he was questioned.

Joint police commissioner (Crime) Bengaluru, Sandeep Patil said that they arrested him on Wednesday night and the police will seek his custody as they need to question him at length.

The CCB is probing violence in parts of Bengaluru after an alleged insidious social media post by Naveen Kumar (who is out on the bail) the nephew of Pulikeshinagar Congress MLA, Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy went viral on August 11.

The CCB that has filed 850-page preliminary charge sheet furnished in the court has named former Congress mayor R. Sampath Raj as an accused in the Bengaluru Riots. Besides, Raj, former Congress corporator of Pulakeshinagar, Abdul Rakeeb Zakir, was also named as an accused.

In this charge sheet filed in a local court two months ago, the police have named Sampath Raj and Zakir as accused number 51 and 52 in the Bengaluru riots case.

A CCB official said Sampath Raj, who is the DJ Halli Congress corporator, was among those who had information about the violence and did not share it with police.

Raj and Zakir had been questioned earlier, but have not yet been arrested.

Another Congress leader Kaleem Pasha has already been arrested in the case. Sampath Raj, his personal assistant Arun Kumar and Zakir allegedly instigated local Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) leaders to intensify the riots on the day, according to the chargesheet.

Raj allegedly used Arun Kumar's phone to instigate SDPI and Congress workers to attack legislator Srinivas' residence.

Arun was arrested on September 5 after the CCB claimed that he had made over 10 calls to local SDPI leader Muzammil Pasha and others.

Four persons were killed after police opened fire on the night of August 11 to quell a mob that went on a rampage in a city locality, irked over a social media post.

Several including around 50 policemen were injured in the violence. Besides this, Pulakeshi Nagar MLA Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy's residence and police stations at D. J. Halli and K. G. Halli were among those targeted by the angry mob.

The house of the MLA, who was not at home at the time, was allegedly set on fire.

The rioters also torched many police and private vehicles, badly damaged the house and looted the belongings of MLA Murthy and those of his sister.

So far, 421 people have been arrested, including the Social Democratic Party of India leader Muzammil Pasha.

The National Investigation Agency is also probing the matter and has nabbed the prime accused in the case.

Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai had claimed that the internal strife in the Congress, coupled with the coming BBMP (city corporation) elections, had resulted in the violence in Pulakeshinagar.

Dimissing his statement, state Congress chief D. K. Shivakumar had charged the government with trying to 'cover up' its failure to prevent the riots by giving misleading statements.

first published:December 03, 2020, 17:26 IST