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The Hit Job That Wasn’t: What Led Anantkumar Hegde to Cancel His Press Conference

The day began with Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde alleging a plot to kill him. Hours later, a tiny detail forced a rethink.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:April 19, 2018, 1:46 PM IST
The Hit Job That Wasn’t: What Led Anantkumar Hegde to Cancel His Press Conference
A photo of the accident tweeted by Union Minister Ananthkumar Hegde.
Bengaluru: A minute after Tuesday midnight, Anantkumar Hegde, the firebrand Union minister from Karnataka, startled the citizens of the poll-bound state with his tweet alleging an attempt on his life.

“A deliberate attempt on my life seems to have been executed just now. A truck on NH, near Halageri in Ranebennur taluk of Haveri district has hit my escort vehicle which tried to hit my vehicle in the first instance. Since our vehicle was in top speed we escaped the hit (sic),” he said.

He went on to post pictures of the truck, which showed the registration number as KA 18 A 8733 and sported the label 'Sri Shakti Ganapathi’. He also posted pictures of the police escort vehicle that was hit, and went on to say that the truck was driving in the wrong direction and stepped up the speed when his convoy approached.

He went on to post pictures of the hapless truck driver, particularly mentioning his name Nasir and wanted the police to probe and expose the 'bigger nexus behind the incident”.

While an attempt on the life of a Union Minister is a serious affair, the local police said prima facie there was nothing to indicate the same. "The driver was reversing his vehicle in Halageri on a bypass road. He had missed a turn and started reversing. While doing so, he hit the police escort vehicle."

Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said due investigation would be done given the serious nature of the allegation, while Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ridiculed Hegde's conspiracy theories.

"Accidents happen because of negligence or overspeeding or such factors. There are many in the BJP who have a criminal bent of mind, and it is to them that such thoughts (of a conspiracy to murder) come," he told reporters in Mysore.

Hegde was unconvinced and many of his fellow MPs and MLAs from the BJP also tweeted in his support, saying they condemn the “attempt to kill him”.

A few hours later, the story turned on its head.

Investigation revealed that the truck in question was owned by one Nagesh, a resident of Koppa in Chikmagalur. Nagesh turned out to be the brother of Ramesh, the block president of the BJP in Koppa taluk.

As this detail came to light, Hegde called off a press conference he had scheduled for Wednesday evening. No reason was given to mediapersons who had been invited to the press meet, but the decision could be an apparent consequence of this.

The drama unfolded in the middle of hectic campaigning for the May 12 Assembly elections in the state, which has been key parties trade charges of “political killings” in the run-up to the polls.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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