BELAGAVI: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), probing the mysterious disappearance of 4.9kg gold from a private car seized by the Belagavi police, arrested Kiran Veranagoudar on Monday, reportedly a key person in the case.
The Maruti Ertiga car was flagged down by Yamakanamardi police at Hattargi toll plaza on the intervening night of Jan 9-10 on the directions of former Northern Range IGP Raghavendra Suhas. Although police couldn’t find the gold, they booked the car under section 96 of Karnataka Police act and seized the car.
On April 17, Tilak Poojary, owner of the gold, filed a complaint with IGP seeking a probe to find gold missing from the car when it was released from a local court. When the car was seized Tilak was introduced to Kiran by his friend from Mangaluru. Tilak, in his statement recorded by Belagavi Cyber Economics and Narcotics Crime in the presence of additional SP had alleged that he had bribed Kiran with RS 25 lakhs for the release of the car. His statement was recorded after the IGP ordered a departmental enquiry following Tilak’ complaint.
The CID, on May 26, filed a first FIR in the case under sections 380 (theft) and 447 (criminal trespass) of the IPC. However, no one was named in the FIR. On Jun 7, police filed two FIRs, one at Sankeshwar police station and another at Hirebagewadi police station – naming Kiran as accused based on the complaint filed by CID DySP Ramachandra B. At Sankeshwar, police booked Kiran and other government officials under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act on the allegations of bribery. In the FIR filed at Hirebagewadi, Kiran is accused of impersonation and forgery. Kiran was sent to 14-day police custody by a Belagavi special court.
May 24 had admitted to ToI about helping Tilak get the car released and that he had collected cash upto RS 3 lakhs. “I was unaware of the gold until Tilak attempted to steal it from the car at the police station. I had taken him to Yamakanmardi police station on his request to see the condition of the car a few days before it was released. But at the station using a duplicate key he used to steal the gold but the alarm went off, he ran to me and confessed. When the car was released and gold was missing, I advised them to file a complaint before the IG and the same was done,” he said.