In a big setback to the former Tamil Nadu youth welfare and sports minister Balakrishna Reddy, the Madras High Court on Friday refused to suspend his conviction and three years’ imprisonment awarded by a special court in a 1998 riot case.
Now, in view of the dismissal, Reddy must surrender before the jurisdictional court after which would be lodged in prison. During hearing, Reddy’s counsel contended that apart from the evidence provided by a single prosecution witness, there is nothing else to prove the charges against him and all the charges are attributed only against the first accused, Govinda Reddy.
Interestingly, the public prosecutor also contended that Reddy alone could not be blamed for the violence as there were many onlookers when the incident happened. Moreover, mere participation in the protest could not make him guilty of the violence. However, Justice Parthiban on wondering, why the prosecutor was supporting the accused while he was supposed to defend the prosecution, sought to know as to whether the public prosecutor believed the trial court had erred in its judgement. To this, the prosecutor said he was submitting only the facts stated in the FIR.
The case pertains to a FIR registered in 1998 by the Bagalur police in Krishnagiri district over violence caused during a protest staged by BJP against illicit arrack. Redddy, who was BJP member at the time and 107 others attacked police personnel with iron rods, bottles and cycle chains.