A driver of a state government-run bank has been detained after falsely accusing pro-Maratha groups of assaulting him in an attempt to cover up an accident amid the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The defendant, Chetan NV, was working as a driver for the Karnataka Rural Development Bank and he was dispatched to Belagavi to attend the upcoming winter session of the State Assembly in Suvarna Soudha.
According to police, Chetan was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when he was passing the Hirebagewadi toll gate in his jeep from behind when he crashed into a truck carrying iron bars at around 7.30pm on Wednesday.
Hours later, he lodged a report with the Bagewadi police in Belagavi taluk, claiming that his vehicle was attacked by pro-Maratha activists near Suvarna Soudha. Reports of the incident went viral and police launched an investigation.
During the interrogation, the police found that the driver’s confession was inconsistent. Later, he admitted that he made up the story to cover up the accident. “Because there was a conflict between Kannadigas and Marathis, he tried to exploit it by making false allegations against Marathis,” said a senior official familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Further investigation revealed that he had been drinking at a restaurant in Haveri district at around 4.30pm when he came to Belagavi from Bangalore on Tuesday morning. His jeep crashed into the lorry after passing through the Hirebagewadi tollbooth.
Belagavi DCP (Law and Order) Ravindra Gadadi said Chetan filed a false complaint that his vehicle was stopped by some Marathi-speaking people and damaged his vehicle. “No such incident happened. To cover his fault, he made up false stories,” DCP Gadadi said, calling for such rumors not to spread.
ADGP (Law and Order) Alok Kumar also said that legal action will be taken against the driver. “The driver of the vehicle misled it and gave it a different twist. The scene and cause of the incident vary. Legal action is being taken against the driver who incited the discord,” he tweeted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has announced that a six-member ministerial group comprising three ministers from Maharashtra and Karnataka will sit together to discuss the deteriorating state On the international border issue, no state will lay claim to the territory until the Supreme Court has ruled on the dispute after meeting with the chief ministers of both countries on Wednesday.
Shah met Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Karnataka Home Affairs Minister Araga Jnanendra in Delhi.
After the meeting, the Shah said a number of decisions had been made to resolve the dispute, saying “it cannot be resolved on the streets, only through constitutional means”.