Bengaluru, Apr 18: the extortion case involving Lakshmiprasad Vajpai (42), the arrested CEO of Kannada news channel Janasri, has taken a new twist with police suspecting foul play in the “accidental death” of the channel’s accountant just a day before Vajpai was caught red-handed.
Police had arrested Vajpai while taking extortion money on Friday from a Bengaluru-based businessman whom he had threatened to defame through the news channel.
Karthik L (25), a resident of Yeddyurappa Nagar near Yelahanka, had been working for the channel as an accountant since 2013. On April 10, he left the channel’s Koramangala office at 10 pm and telephoned his father, Bhadrappa, to tell him he would reach home by 11 pm.
But he failed to show up even after midnight and his phone remained switched off. It was only by 2 am that his family got to know what happened to him. A person from Baptist Hospital called up Bhadrappa to inform him that his son was hospitalised with serious injuries sustained in a road accident. Karthik succumbed to the injuries on April 13.
Karthik’s family, however, raised suspicion about the circumstances and timing of the accident. They have made a complaint to the police in this regard. Police found during the investigation that Karthik was taken to Baptist Hospital around 1 am by three men. The men did not tell the staff anything except that the young man was found with injuries, and immediately left the hospital.
Police tracked them down. They said they had found Karthik lying injured on the Veerannapalya flyover around 12.30 am. They called an ambulance service but found no response. They then decided to take him to hospital in their own vehicle.
Police are investigating whether the two incidents — Karthik’s “accident” and Vajpai’s dealings — were connected. “We are awaiting the post-mortem report and trying to ascertain if Karthik’s death has any links with Vajpai’s extortion cases,” a senior police officer said.