Wednesday, August 22, 2007

High Court lawyer accused of Naxal links arrested in city

Mumbai, August 21: In a joint operation with the Andhra Pradesh Police, the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the state police on Monday night arrested a lawyer practising in the Bombay High Court for his alleged links with Naxals and involvement in the killing of a police officer six years ago. The police arrested K D Rao outside YMCA hostel near Colaba.

According to Andhra Pradesh Police officials, Rao was arrested for his alleged involvement in the killing of a circle police inspector at Vijaynagar in September 2001. Sources in the ATS said the information about Rao’s presence in the city and his alleged involvement in the police officer’s murder surfaced during the interrogation of Naxal leader Shridhar Srinivasan alias Vishnu, who was arrested by the ATS on Sunday night. Rao used to practise law in Andhra Pradesh in the ’80s, the police said, adding that he moved to Mumbai five to six years back and became a member of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa about two years back.

Commenting on the arrest, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police said, “There was a pending warrant against him which we have executed.” State ATS chief, Additional Director General of Police K P Raghuvanshi, denied Rao’s involvement in any Naxal activities in the state. “We have yet not found him to have been operating in the state but as he was wanted by the Andhra Pradesh Police and we provided all possible help.”

Rao was produced before the Additional Metropolitan Magistrate at Mazgaon where the Andhra Pradesh police obtained his transit remand.
But when presented before the magistrate, Rao expressed apprehension of being killed an encounter by the police. His lawyer Shahid Azmi said, “Andhra Pradesh Police have a history of killing accused arrested from outside the state while being taken back to the respective city. Rao was never named in the FIR. It is an open FIR that does not name any accused. It was an undetected case.”

The court took note of Rao’s apprehension and asked Police Inspector V Vijaykumar of Vijaynagar rural police station-head of the police team from Andhra Pradesh-to ensure the safety of the accused. The court also directed Vijaykumar to present Rao before the Vijaynagar district court on August 24.

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