Court grants conditional bail to JD(S) MLA HD Revanna in kidnapping case

As per the conditions of the bail, the accused JD(S) MLA has been asked not to leave the country, and cooperate with the investigation.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 13, 2024 | 8:06 PMUpdatedMay 13, 2024 | 8:19 PM

Hassan HD Revanna

In an interim relief to Holenarasipura MLA HD Revanna, the Special Court for People’s Representatives on Monday, 13 May, granted conditional bail to him in a kidnapping case related to the alleged sexual abuse incidents involving his son and Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna.

The JD(S) MLA and his accomplice Satish Babanna were booked by KR Nagara Police Station in Bengaluru on 2 May for kidnapping a woman who was allegedly sexually abused by Prajwal.

Based on the complaint, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the alleged sexual abuse cases of Prajwal arrested the JD(S) MLA from the residence of his father and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda on 4 May.

The 33-year-old Prajwal is facing charges of sexually assaulting several women after thousands of obscene videos allegedly involving him got circulated in Hassan. He is said to have flown abroad on 27 April, a day after the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka was held. Prajwal is still absconding.

He is the BJP-JD(S) alliance’s candidate from the Hassan Lok Sabha constituency, which went to polls on 26 April in the second phase of elections in India.

While the Congress government has formed a SIT to probe the cases, the BJP and JD(S) — NDA partners — have demanded that it be handed over to the CBI, and action against those behind the circulation of explicit videos.

Also Read: SIT arrests 2 for allegedly leaking sexually explicit videos

The bail

Judge Santosh G Bhatt awarded condition bail to Revanna. He is expected to be released from the central prison on 14 May.

Soon after Revanna was arrested, the court handed him over to the SIT’s custody for three days.

On 8 May, the court awarded judicial custody for Revanna till 14 May. He was accommodated at the central prison in Bengaluru for nearly five days.

A bail petition was filed before the special court for people’s representatives in Bengaluru following his arrest. After listening to the hearing of both sides, the court adjourned the hearing to Monday.

As per the conditions of the bail, the accused JD(S) MLA has been asked not to leave the country, and cooperate with the investigation. He is restricted from entering KR Nagar taluka in Mysuru and has been asked not to influence the witnesses.

He has also been asked to keep a bond of ₹5 lakh with two witnesses.

Meanwhile, the second accused Babanna was sent to four days of judicial custody and the other four accused to 14 days of judicial custody.

Case against Revanna

The case was registered following a complaint by the woman’s son, who alleged that his mother was sexually abused by Revanna’s son Prajwal.

The woman was allegedly abducted to prevent her from testifying against Prajwal, police sources said.

The SIT arrested his accomplice Babanna on 3 May and subsequently rescued the woman allegedly from a farmhouse in Mysuru’s Hunsur taluk on 4 May, hours before the arrest of Revanna.

While Revanna engaged senior counsel CV Nagesh for his bail plea, Special Public Prosecutor Jaina Kothari and Additional Public Prosecutor Ashok Naik argued on behalf of the SIT.

Nagesh claimed that there is a political conspiracy behind Revanna’s arrest and the victim has recently said in a video that she has not been abducted by Revanna or his family.

Kothari and Naik countered it by saying, that SIT recorded statements both under CrPC sections 161 (examination of witnesses by police) and 164 (statements recorded by Magistrate) and the victim has given a statement against Revanna.

The SIT advocates also argued that the bail application was moved when the accused was already in custody and hence the matter is not maintainable.

However, the Judge differed with this argument and said “… please argue on the merit of the case.”

Also Read: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah rules out CBI probe in against MP Prajwal

Arguments in court

Nagesh further added that the victim’s son lodged the complaint saying his mother had not come home and he also mentioned that she had gone with the known individual on a motorbike.

“How is it interpreted as kidnap? It is not a case of kidnap,” said Nagesh.

Naik said that the victim and her family have been threatened by the accused and the victim needs police protection.

After a brief adjournment, Nagesh argued that the sections invoked by SIT were invalid and cited a few previous court verdicts on kidnapping cases.

Nagesh said, “SIT has not furnished a single piece of evidence against my client to establish that he abducted the victim. There is no demand for money or valuables or any sort of force against the victim. 364A (Kidnapping for ransom) cannot be invoked in this case.”

He further added that cases against Prajwal have got nothing to do with Revanna and he requested to grant his client Revanna immediate bail relief.

He also targeted the SIT counsels and asked “Why are two special public prosecutors appearing for bail objection?”

However, Kothari clarified that they aren’t repeating the argument and one is adding to the other argument.

Later, Kothari requested the court to make further submissions to counter Nagesh’s argument. But, Nagesh objected to this saying, “If SIT gets another round of argument, I should also be given an opportunity to counter it.”

Kothari pointed out that there is some misinformation in Nagesh’s argument. “Victim is not a relative of HD Revanna as stated by CV Nagesh and 161 statements before the Investigation Officer have been recorded on 5 May and not later.”

To this, Judge Bhat said, “161 and 164 statements are furnished before the court in both remand applications.” SIT sought time to furnish written documents related to this, but was turned down by the judge and he reserved the order at 5 pm on Monday and granted bail to Revanna.

(With PTI inputs)