Karnataka: Paresh Mesta death probe handed to CBI

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The saffron party has maintained that 18-year old Paresh Kamalakar Mesta was a "Hindu activist" killed by "Jehadi elements", and demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

State home minister Ramalinga Reddy said the government chose to hand over the probe to the CBI not only to honour the father's wishes but also to show that it has nothing to hide.

Kumta in the same district also witnessed violence when the vehicle of IGP (Western Range) Hemanth Nimbalkar was set ablaze yesterday amid protests seeking justice for Mesta, whose body was found on Friday.

Raking up a fresh controversy on Wednesday, BJP Member of Parliament Shobha Karandlaje while addressing the press said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has instructed the Inspector General of Police (IGP)- Western Range of Karnataka to protect the minorities in the Uttara Kannada district in the ongoing communal violence.

He said it was in "protest against the government's apathy to the probe into Paresh's death". They said there was no chance that he would drown in the lake since Paresh belonged to the fishermen community, and was an expert swimmer.

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BJP and some other outfits had called the protest in Sirsi, demanding the arrest of those responsible forMesta's death. "The BJP is playing politics over the tragic death of a youngster". Kamalakar had also requested state government for CBI investigation of the case.

The PFI had earlier rejected the BJP's charge pinning the blame on it for the killings of Hindu activists. "Let CBI or NIA investigate it", she said.

The BJP, meanwhile, continued to accuse the government of attempting to scuttle the investigation. The police deny this, and have released a copy of preliminary report by a forensic doctor who conducted the autopsy on December 8 to clarify there were no signs of torture on the body. "I have been trying to contact him, but his phone is switched off". The BJP had claimed that the officer was murdered, but a CBI probe had revealed it was a case of suicide, giving the government a clean chit in the case.

The parliamentarian said she feared that the government may be trying to destroy evidence on the pretext of conducting post-mortem examinations.

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