The mystery surrounding Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashok’s son Sharath’s involvement in a car crash that killed 2 deepens, as a photo which allegedly places him at the site of the accident has emerged on social media.
The photo, as well as a statement of a Ballari Government Hospital doctor have raised questions over the police not including Sharath’s name in the FIR.
A Kannada daily, on 13 February, reported that R Ashok’s son was driving the car that killed 2 people in Hospet in north Karnataka’s Ballary district, stirring controversy.
The car crash took place on 10 February near Durga Petrol Bunk in Mariammanahalli village. At around 3 pm, a speeding red Mercedes Benz rammed into a tea stall by the road. The car hit 18-year-old Ravi Naik and dragged him for about 100 meters. He died on the spot. Apart from Ravi, a passenger in the car, Sachin, also lost his life in the crash.
Minister Makes Contradictory Statements
The article quoted a police officer saying Ashok’s son, Sharath, was driving the car and yet his name was not added in the FIR. Hours later, R Ashok made two contradictory statements.
In his first statement, to a Kannada news channel, Ashok said his son was seated at the rear-end of the car that was involved in the accident. The statement raised several eyebrows as the police had already named the occupants of the car in the FIR and Sharath wasn’t among them.
Once the news clip gained traction, he retracted his statement and said his son was not in the car. Since then he has maintained that he will not talk about the case since it is under investigation.
Photo, Doctor’s Statement Raise Questions
Hours after R Ashok’s contradictory statements, a photo alleged to be of his son at the crash site emerged on social media. In the photo, Sharath can be seen sitting at the rear-end of the pickup truck with blood on his right arm.
Soon after, Dr Mahantesh, a staffer at Ballari Government General Hospital, gave a statement to a Kannada channel claiming the police asked to him conduct the post-mortem of one of the passengers of the car crash quickly, claiming they were close to the revenue minister.
“The sub-inspector asked me to perform the autopsy as soon as possible. He said that Sachin, the person who was brought dead, was associated with minister R Ashok. He did not say if Sachin was a relative but he said that the case is on priority. We don’t generally perform autopsies at 1:30 am but on humanitarian grounds I did it,” Dr Mahantesh told the channel.
Ballari Police officials refused to comment and said investigation is underway.
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