Fresh FIR filed against Karnataka BJP MLA Harish Poonja for abusing cops to free rowdy sheeter

Poonja was booked for protesting and pressuring police officers to release Shashiraj Shetty, a rowdy sheeter and Yuva Morcha worker.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 22, 2024 | 1:56 PM Updated May 22, 2024 | 4:36 PM

The BJP MLA was initially booked after he barged into the police station and abusing the officers. (Harish Poonja/Facebook)

A second FIR was registered against BJP’s Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja for threatening and abusing police officers.

Poonja was booked a week ago for protesting and pressuring police officers to release Shashiraj Shetty, a rowdy sheeter and Yuva Morcha Mandal president.

Shetty was arrested for illegal quarrying at Moodala in the Melanthabettu village of Belthangady Taluk.

The BJP lawmaker was then booked for staging a protest in front of Belthangady Tahsildar’s office without permission from the authorities concerned, unlawful gathering, threatening, and abusing police officers.

The Dakshina Kannada police registered the second FIR for threatening officers.

Related: BJP MLA Harish Poonja booked for abusing police

What does the FIR say?

“Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja and others have unlawfully staged a protest on 20 May. At the time of protest, MLA Poonja had stated that he would hold the police officer by the scruff for arresting the karyakarta,” the fresh FIR said.

“He further threatened that he would mete out the same fate to Belthangady Police Station as that of Bengaluru’s DJ Halli and KJ Halli police stations.”

DJ Halli and KJ Halli police stations in Bengaluru were set ablaze by rioters in August 2020.

“The MLA not only threatened the Belthangady Police Inspector and other police personnel but also abused them. He also prevented the public, who had come for their works, from entering the taluka office,” stated in the FIR.

The Belthangady Police have booked BJP MLA Poonja under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (insulting to provoke the other person), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 149 (unlawful assembly)of the Indian Penal Code.

Also Read: Ashwath Narayan, Harish Poonja booked for ‘threatening’, ‘taunting’ Siddaramaiah

Abuse posted on social media

Poonja had shared a video on his official Facebook account, where he could be heard abusing the on-duty police and pressuring them to release the arrested Yuva Morcha worker.

The MLA claimed that Shetty, now in judicial remand, was innocent. “Local police are dancing to the tunes of the Congress government. I will continue to protest until justice is served,” he had said.

Another video showed the MLA purportedly abusing the inspector.

“You have arrested an innocent. We will not tolerate this kind of harassment. Is the police station your father’s property?”

Poonja later told South First: “The police have arrested an innocent person in this case. What was the necessity to arrest him at midnight? Shashiraj is not related to this case. He is not involved in illegal mining.”

He added: “We do not have any objection to police arresting the main accused, who is also a party worker. But, we will not tolerate the arresting of the innocent.”

(Edited by Majnu Babu).