Bengaluru, Nov 17 (PTI) Defending the Congress following the arrest of former mayor Sampath Raj in connection with the Bengaluru riots, its Karnataka unit President D K Shivakumar on Tuesday accused the ruling BJP of 'misusing' the law to defame his party.
'Every one has to respect the law whether it is Sampath Raj or D K Shivakumar. We are seeing that a section is misusing the law. Sampath Raj will definitely respect the law..,' Shivakumar said.
Terming the arrest as a 'big development,' Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said based on the evidence already collected and what we will get from this arrest, will give a clear picture regarding those behind the violence.
Speaking to reporters here, Shivakumar said those in power, those in BJP are misusing the law and are purposefully making efforts to defame Congress party.
'Definitely this is an attempt to target Congress, where is the evidence to prove that Congress men are involved.
I have also seen the chargesheet. They (BJP) are doing it, they have a tradition to trouble Congress leaders and they are at it,' he added.
Sampath Raj, a the Congress corporator, was arrested early this morning for allegedly inciting the attack on party's Pulakeshinagar legislator Akhanda Srinivas Murthys house during the August 11 rioting in DJ Halli, KJ Halli and nearby areas.
While Murthy's house was completely gutted in the violence, a police station, several public and private properties were damaged.
Asked whether Sampath Raj has been arrested for not committing any mistake, Shivakumar merely said the matter was before the court and did not want to comment on it.
Seeking to know how one could say that Sampath Raj was absconding, he said, 'he (Sampath Raj) was not feeling well, lets see, I have not met him for about two months.
Responding to a question on Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy's statement that he wants his party chief to stand by him, Shivakumar said he has not discussed anything with me in this regard, he may be speaking to media.
'We cannot come to a decision based on individual opinion. Investigation process is on... . what they have done with the probe and the politics behind it, we are aware...
lets talk about it in the days to come,' he said.
Shivakumar further said that he stands by all Congressmen who are law abiding.
'It may be his (Srinivas Murthy) opinion, but soon after the incident happened, along with our leaders I visited the spot, put pressure on the police (for fair probe)...,' he added.
Reacting to Murthy's demand for action against Sampath Raj, Shivakumar said not in front of media, let him come and talk to me.
Earlier, responding to the arrest of Sampath Raj, Murthy told reporters that he was hurt that his party did not stand by him.
'I am surely hurt. My party should stand by me because I am an MLA,' he said.
Murthy further said he had met Shivakumar and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah the very next day of the incident and would meet them again on Wednesday and demand justice.
On August 11 night, around 4,000 people went on a rampage, setting ablaze the houses of Murthy and his sister over an alleged inflammatory social media post uploaded by his nephew.
The angry mob also torched Devara Jeevanahalli and Kadugondanahalli police stations over suspicion that the nephew was present there. Three people were killed in police firing while another person died due to abdominal injuries suffered in the violence.
Thanking Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and others for 'ensuring justice', the MLA said Sampath Raj would not have escaped from the hospital if he was not guilty.
'Why did he run away? If he's not guilty, he could have cooperated with the police,' he said.
Sampath Raj had allegedly escaped from a private hospital where he got admitted for COVID-19. PTI KSU GMS ROH ROH