BANGALORE : Kannada Prabha a and Suvarna news channel Editor Vishweshwar Bhat was arrested by the Bangalore Police on June 27, Wednesday in connection with a defamation case. Bhat who was produced before the court was released the same evening after he was granted bail.
However, Bhat had to remain in police custody from 9 am till he was released in the evening. The court had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against him, fed up with this repeated abstention despite seven summons and a few warrants during the past four year period. Even though he enjoyed police security as per his request, the police used to submit false report to the court that he could not be ‘traced.’ Finally, the court had ordered his arrest.
The case was pertaining to the defamation suit filed against Bhat by one AP Ranganath, President of the Bangalore Bar Association in connection with a report on irregularities in Bangalore University, published in Vijaya Karnataka in 2008 when Vishweshwar Bhat was its editor. The report had a mention of Ranganath who had later moved the court stating his reputation had been harmed by the report.
It is learnt, when Bhat was produced before the court, he was censured for wasting the precious time of the court by not appearing for hearing on earlier occasions.
The court granted him bail in the afternoon subject to the condition of depositing a surety of Rs 25000 and also that he should appear before court whenever there was a summons.
Earlier, when the advocate for Bhat was about to submit a bail plea, some lawyers objected saying none should take up Bhat’s case.
News blackout: Ironically, almost all TV channels including Suvarna and also major dailies had blacked out this major news, thereby putting their creditability to test. Suvarna TV which did not mind airing developments regarding the Nityananda episode round the clock, had failed to air news relating to its editor’s arrest.
Meanwhile, eye witnesses said there was some tension outside the court premises when journalists were not allowed entry into the court by advocates. Police had a tough time and an eye witness said some advocates abused Bhat and even attacked him leaving Bhat’s shirt torn.