After 9 years in jail, Karnataka court acquits father-son duo

Dakshina Kannada: The third additional district and sessions court in Dakshina Kannada district has acquitted Vittala Malekudia and his father Lingappa Malekudia who were arrested and charged for having ties with Maoist elements nine years ago.

The two were acquitted on Thursday.

Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) had arrested the father and son on March 3, 2012 on charges of having Maoist connections.

During the search of their home, ANF officers had taken a book on freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, a binocular and other 36 items into custody. His write up on boycotting of elections was considered a seditious act. The case was registered at Venur police station. The charge sheet by the ANF mentioned Vittala Malekudia as the sixth accused, and his father Linganna Malekudia as the seventh accused.

Vittala Malekudia was studying his first year in Journalism at Mangaluru University at the time of his arrest. He had attended examinations while in custody. The photos of Vittala Malekudia writing exams in handcuffs had gone viral. Viittala was coordinating with journalists to highlight the plight of the Malekudia community.

Judge Basappa Balappa Jakati gave the order of their acquittal. Advocate Dinesh Ulepady appeared for the acquitted persons.