BJP MLA booked for ‘threatening’ police in illegal mining case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP MLA booked for ‘threatening’ police in illegal mining case

By, Bengaluru
May 20, 2024 08:24 AM IST

BJP MLA Harish Poonja, along with his aides, stormed the Belthangadi police station, demanding the release of the illegal mining accused, say cops

A case has been registered against Belthangadi MLA Harish Poonja on Sunday for allegedly pressuring the police to release a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker, who was arrested in an illegal mining case, police said.

Poonja and his supporters stormed the Belthangadi police station, demanding the release of the illegal mining accused on Saturday night (File photo)
Poonja and his supporters stormed the Belthangadi police station, demanding the release of the illegal mining accused on Saturday night (File photo)

According to police, the incident took place when Poonja and his supporters stormed the Belthangadi police station, demanding the release of the illegal mining accused on Saturday night.

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Police said that acting on a tip-off about illegal mining in Melantabettu village, they raided a stone quarry and seized various items, including a Hitachi machine, a tractor, four live ammunition rounds, and four empty rounds.

A case was registered under several sections, including illegal possession of explosives, leading to the arrest of BJP’s yuva morcha taluk president and rowdy sheeter Shashiraj Shetty (35). However, another accused, Pramod Ujire, also from the BJP, remains at large, with police actively searching for him.

Following Shetty’s arrest, Poonja allegedly led a group to the Belthangadi police station, demanding his release. The MLA along with his supporters allegedly staged a sit-in protest and allegedly pressured the police to free Shetty.

A video purportedly showing Poonja’s heated exchange with a police officer went viral on social media on Sunday. In the video, Poonja can allegedly be seen questioning the police’s authority and threatening to take action against the officers involved.

Despite the pressure, police said, a case against Shashiraj Shetty was registered and was also presented him in court, which remanded him to judicial custody for 14 days.

“The MLA insulted police officials and also obstructed police from discharging their official duties. We booked him under IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) and 504 (intentional insult), and the investigation is ongoing,” said MN Dharmappa, Dakshina Kannada district additional superintendent of police.

In post on X, the Congress said: “The BJP MLA supporting illegal rock mining is evident. The MLA even threatened to demoralise police officers by supporting a rowdy sheeter. However, the police practised impartiality.”

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