Six held for RTI activist murder2 min read
While the three accused Raghavendra, Umesh and Naveen were arrested on January 18, the other three Subramanya Udupa, Mohan and Ravi were arrested on January 20. They have been sent to Kundapur where they will remain till January 24, awaiting trial.
Adiga was reported missing on January 7 from Goliangady, a village in Udupi District. According to witnesses, Adiga was intercepted by a black Scorpio on his way home to Vandar and was then forced into the vehicle. Adiga’s body was found five days later on January 12 in a pond in the Chikmagalur district.
According to police, the body was weighed down with a heavy stone that was tied to the victim’s legs, suggesting murder. The investigating officer of the case, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Kundapur Yashoda Sunil said, “The identity of the drowned victim was unknown. The body was mutilated. His identity was proven by a piece of paper in his pocket that had his name on it.” According to M.B. Boralingaiah, SP, Udupi district; Adiga was strangulated to death, and then tied to the heavy stone and thrown into the pond.
According to the police department, the three have confessed to be involved in kidnapping of the activist. The accused are professional contract killers who were hired by an unknown to kill Adiga.
It is suspected that Adiga’s RTI queries relating to a particular query scam could have been the reason behind his death. But the police believe the cause of the murder to be a land dispute between the victim and some locals. The driver of one of the un-named suspects has also been taken in for police questioning.
Harsha Raj Gatty, an RTI activist who knew Adiga told TMJ that the reason for the murder could be political as Adiga was known for unearthing discrepancies in the functioning of the opposition. He said, “The police will always try to maintain their neutrality. They work for the government. I knew Vasudeva and he was involved in exposing corruption using RTI as a tool. There is a high chance that the murder was political.”
“Generally murders relating to property disputes aren’t this grotesque. When his body was found, it was unidentifiable. In my career I haven’t seen a property dispute lead to such a ruthless killing. It doesn’t make sense,” he added
As the police investigation continues into the reasons of the murder, the police are considering both Adiga’s role as an RTI activist, as well as his involvement in the long-running land dispute.
Sub-edited by Sabari Saran