Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Joint Commissioner Crime Pranab Mohanty to investigate into recent murder of Right to Information Activist (RTI) activist Lingaraju. Hearing the suo motu PIL on the matter, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen asked the government to submit its final report on the matter by February 10.
The court earlier lauded the efforts of senior advocate Hasmath Pasha as amicus curiae in the case and directed payment of Rs 40,000 to him which he in turn donated to Lingaraju's wife.
Government advocate informed the court that the Azad Nagar Corporator Gowramma, an accused in the case, was arrested on Wednesday. Her husband Govindaraju, against whom Lingaraju had filed a private complaint before Lokayukta court, has already been arrested.
Observing that no proper protection was given to such whistleblowers in the state, the court directed the government to frame guidelines on the lines of those in Haryana, for protection of whistleblowers and RTI activists and to provide adequate protection to witnesses in the Lingaraju murder case.
On November 20, Lingaraju (40), an RTI activist was hacked to death at Vittal Nagar in Chamarajpet in Bangalore by three unidentified persons in front of his house when he and his wife were fetching water from a public tap.
Lingaraju had filed a private complaint in the Lokayukta Court against Govindraju, husband of Azadnagar corporator Gowramma. On November 9, Lokayuukta police had raided Gowramma and Govindraju's residence and recovered property worth over Rs 16 crore.
He is also reported to have provided crucial documents, during preliminary investigation of the cases involving Gowramma and Govindraju, which subsequently led to the raids, police said.