Bengaluru: Allegations of unprovoked attacks on people at restaurants and pubs are not new to Mohammad Haris Nalapad, the son of Congress MLA NA Harris. The latest is the assault on a youth at an upscale restaurant in UB City area.
According to the FIR, Nalapad and 10 of his supporters thrashed Dollars Colony resident Vidwath after a heated exchange. Vidwath, who already had a fractured leg, was rushed to a nearby hospital, but Nalapad and his supporters reportedly followed him there and threatened against pressing charges.
Hours after News18 reported the assault, the Congress expelled Nalapad, the Bangalore District Youth Congress General Secretary, for six years.
Nalapad has been accused of such brawls in the past, while the police have faced flak for not taking appropriate action.
Nalapad’s father NA Haris is MLA from Shanthinagar Assembly Seat in central Bengaluru, which includes high-end areas like MG Road, Brigade Road, Lavelle Road and Residency Road. These areas form the central business district of the city. Local restaurateurs and pub owners have complained of Nalapad using “political clout to extort money”.
The owner of one such plush pub told News18 on condition of anonymity that Nalapad had recently demanded Rs 5 lakh from him. The pub owner paid up Rs 50,000. "The problem is with the police. All local police officials are close to Haris. He got them plum postings like Cubbon Park and Ashok Nagara stations. They take no action against his son, who is out of control with his father's blessings,” he said.
In 2016, Nalapad was accused of assaulting a reveller at a Shanthinagar pub. The police allegedly forced the victim to withdraw the complaint. Police had even claimed that someone else was impersonating Nalapad at the time.
According to locals, Nalapad takes offence at the drop of a hat.
Trying to distance himself from the attack, which comes months before Assembly elections, Nalapad’s father claimed he was unaware of his son’s location. “It is an unfortunate incident. I met the victim and his family. I don't know where he (Nalapad) is. His phone is switched off. Let the law take its course,” the MLA Harris said.
After the News18 report resulted in Nalapad’s immediate expulsion from the party, the daughter of a retired top police officer of Karnataka tweeted that the accused was known for throwing his weight around in his school days as well. "Even the teachers were scared of him," she tweeted.
Have known him since school days. Even then used to indulge in such nonsense. Never got punished because even teachers were scared.— Kitaabikeeda (@kitaab_keeda) February 18, 2018
Haris hails from the Malabar region in Kerala and his family run the famous Nalapad chain of hotels and banquet halls in Bengaluru. Haris started his political career with the Youth Congress and became an MLA in 2008. He is said to be close to Kerala Congress leaders, including former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy.