Political slugfest erupts over Mesta’s closure report

Published on Oct 05, 2022 12:38 AM IST

The CBI filed a ‘B’ report or closure report in the death case of Mesta who became the face of the BJP poll campaign in the run up to the 2018 assembly elections.

Paresh Mesta (HT Photo)
Paresh Mesta (HT Photo)
By, Bengaluru

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress on Tuesday locked horns over who was responsible for “ communalising the death of Paresh Mesta” soon after Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a closure report in the matter. Mesta was found dead in a pond in Honnavara in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district in 2017.

“CBI submits to court stating Paresh was NOT murdered. @BJP4Karnataka used Paresh’s death to sow seeds of communal disharmony & for elections. They are still misleading & spoiling the future of the youth for their petty political gains. BJP needs to apologize to his family & state,” Congress legislator and head of communications for the state unit of the party, Priyank Kharge said in a post on Twitter.

The CBI filed a ‘B’ report or closure report in the death case of Mesta who became the face of the BJP poll campaign in the run up to the 2018 assembly elections.

Mesta, 18, who was a fisherman, was found dead “under mysterious circumstances” on December 6, 2017, two days after he went missing in Honnavara in Uttara Kannada. Former chief minister Siddaramaiah during whose tenure the death took place slammed the BJP for taking ‘unhealthy and unethical political advantage’ from this incident after the CBI called the death was not murder.

“CBI has, in its report, stated that Paresh Mesta’s death was accidental & was not due to murder. This report is a slap on the face of @BJP4Karnataka. If BJP has any shame left, it should apologise for its slanderous campaign,” Siddaramaiah said in a Twitter post.

“BJP4Karnataka took unhealthy & unethical political advantage from the deaths of the innocent youth. The power the BJP is enjoying has stains of the blood of these innocent youth,” he added.

Slamming the Congress, Bengaluru (South) MP Tejasvi Surya said that the then Siddaramaiah-led “Congress government had already destroyed evidence before the case was handed to the CBI”.

“Paresh Mesta or Sharat Madiwala... in all these cases, when the Congress was in power, there was a delay in filing FIRs and post-mortems. The preliminary report, or the first 24-48 hours are very important, during which they (Congress government) fudged reports, delayed filing of cases, destroyed evidence,” Surya said.

“Till the (Mesta) case was handed to CBI, whatever the Congress government did... the entire state knew what happened,” he said.

Following Mesta’s death, the BJP MP (now a minister of state) Shobha Karandlaje from neighbouring Udupi-Chikmagalur had “claimed that Mesta was tortured and killed by Jihadis”, detailing how the murder had taken place .

The BJP had also accused the then Siddaramaiah-led Congress government of “turning a blind eye towards attacks on Hindus”.

Days after the incident, the state police on 11 December put out a detailed response by the forensic science laboratory in Manipal (Udupi district), which stated that there was “no evidence to suggest Mesta was tortured” to debunk BJP’s claims.

Sriram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik condemned the probe report and demanded reopening of the case, PTI reported.

“The CBI report is an injustice. I condemn it and I oppose it. This is cheating. Paresh Mesta’s case is 100% murder. The then Congress government destroyed all the evidences,” Muthalik alleged.

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