In an embarrassment in the run-up to the 2023 assembly elections, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya and Bengaluru Central MP PC Mohan were seen alongside “absconding" rowdy-sheeter (person with a criminal record) Silent Sunil alias Sunil Kumar at an event on Sunday, while Fighter Ravi alias Mallikarjun, another rowdy-sheeter, joined the party in the presence of senior ministers on Monday. Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan, who was part of Ravi’s event, defended him saying “every member of society should get an equal opportunity to live”, while Union Minister Pralhad Joshi downplayed the incidents.
Kumar was also the organiser of the event. The event comes just days after the Central Crime Branch raided his house. The programme, which was attended by senior BJP leaders, was largely seen as setting the ground for Kumar’s entry into the saffron fold.
WHO ARE THEY?
Kumar was added to the rowdy-sheeter list at the High grounds and Amruthhalli police stations. He has been on the list for nearly two decades now. He never spoke up during interrogation, which earned him the moniker of ‘Silent Sunil’. He was also booked under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) for attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion and land grabbing. He is a BJP ticket aspirant from the Chamrajpet assembly constituency.
Ravi is a cricket bookie whose name entered the rowdy sheet at the Vayallikaval police station in 2012-13 for illegal betting despite several raids and being arrested multiple times. He was a regular at the rowdy parade and was last arrested in 2018. He is a BJP ticket aspirant from Nagamangala assembly constituency.
The Congress has been quick to corner the BJP, asking how the saffron party got hold of the criminals even as the cops struggled to find them.
“How did @BJP4Karnataka leaders get their hands on these rowdies while the CCB police couldn’t?” tweeted the Karnataka Congress.
ವಾಂಟೆಡ್ ಲಿಸ್ಟ್ನಲ್ಲಿರುವ ರೌಡಿ ಪೊಲೀಸರ ಕೈಗೆ ಸಿಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ, ಆದರೆ ಬಿಜೆಪಿ ನಾಯಕರ ಜೊತೆಯಲ್ಲಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ!ಕಳ್ಳರು, ಸುಳ್ಳರು, ಭ್ರಷ್ಟರು, ರೌಡಿಗಳು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಒಂದೇ ಸೂರು - ಬಿಜೆಪಿ.
ಪೊಲೀಸರು ಹುಡುಕುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ರೌಡಿಯ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ನಾಯಕರಿಗೆ ಏನು ಕೆಲಸ @BJP4Karnataka?ಆತನ ಬಂಧನ ಆಗದಿರುವ ಹಿಂದೆ ಬಿಜೆಪಿ ಕೈವಾಡವಿದೆಯೇ?
— Karnataka Congress (@INCKarnataka) November 28, 2022
Dr Ashwathnarayan defended Ravi. “Everyone in society should get equal opportunity to live, the law applies to everyone. He has not been convicted in any case, the law doesn’t allow anyone convicted to contest in elections. We should allow them to live according to the law,” said the Higher education Minister.
Pralhad Joshi, meanwhile, said, “Don’t know about him. He won’t be taken into the party just because Tejasvi or Ramesh says so. The party president and others will check his background and then decide,” said the Union Minister.
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