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August 29, 2000
Latest court decision makes Krishna's life miserable
M D Riti in Bangalore
The decision of the Supreme Court to stay the release of Terrorist And Disruptive Activities Act detainees in Mysore until September 1, is of little comfort to Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna. The decision was in response to a petition by slain police officer Shakeel Ahmed's father Abdul Karim, a retired deputy superintendent of police.
There is little doubt, although Krishna will not admit it, that he and his government pressurised the special court in Mysore to release the TADA detainees at the earliest. The legal process was pushed through with as much speed as possible, given the number and diversity of cases involved, until the court ordered the freeing of the detainees on Monday on bail.
The person at the receiving end of the government's pressure tactics was public prosecutor Ashwini Kumar Joshi. Until some time ago, he had been pursuing the prosecution the TADA detainees. After the crisis began, he had to do just the opposite, that is, make it easy for them to be let off.
Abdul Karim openly accused Joshi of caving in under pressure from the Karnataka government and facilitating the release of the detainees.
Initially, Joshi admitted that he was acting on orders stipulating that he should make it easy for the TADA detainees to be released. However, he was reportedly rapped on the knuckles for making politically incorrect statements.
Later, Joshi changed his stance and said that he was acting on his own since he had the power to take such decisions himself.
When Krishna showed up for Vijay Mallya's son's thread ceremony in Bangalore at the end of last week, he was the picture of sartorial elegance in a grey-green kurta. Krishna's younger daughter Shambhavi is married to Mallya's step-brother. The guests at this high society event could spot at once that Krishna's sombre dress actually reflected his state of mind, which was far from bright and happy.
His family and friends reveal that Krishna has lost more sleep and peace of mind over the never-ending abduction episode than he did eight years ago when he was a hair's breadth away from the coveted chief minister's chair.
Dr Rajakumar's deteriorating health, as can be seen in the successive videos sent from the forests, is making his family press for his speedy release with greater urgency. With the Supreme Court's stay on the release of the TADA detainees, there is little hope of an early end to the hostage crisis.
On Monday, Dr Rajakumar's family had a Sudarshana homa in their home to pray for his well-being and his speedy return.
Asked for his reaction the court verdict, a dejected-looking Puneet, youngest son of the matinee idol, said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow. None of us is any frame of mind to speak today."
The family was following two parallel developments taking place on Tuesday - the progress of Gopal, on a final mission to meet Veerappan, and the decision of the Supreme Court on Abdul Karim's petition.
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