Udayavni Special

Gauri Lankesh murder accused’s bail plea: SC issues notice to K’taka govt


Team Udayavani, Jun 30, 2021, 11:20 AM IST

New Delhi/Bengaluru: The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Karnataka government stating that the bail plea of one of the Gauri Lankesh murder accused – Mohan Nayak – should be decided uninfluenced by a Karnataka High Court verdict that dropped KCOCA, or Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act, charges against the accused.

The Supreme Court order was in response to a plea by filmmaker Kavita Lankesh, who had challenged the Karnataka High Court order quashing charges under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) against one of the accused in the murder case of her sister and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

The top court issued a notice to the Karnataka government and others connected with the case in this regard.

According to the plea, Mohan Nayak, accused number 6 in the case, is relying on the impugned judgment to seek bail. The order on Nayak’s bail plea is expected before the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday, June 30.

The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Aniruddha Bose observed that the bail application should be decided uninfluenced by the impugned judgment.

The petitioner’s lawyers argued that Nayak was citing the High Court order – the dropping of the KCOCA charges – to get bail, despite that order still being challenged in the top court.

The petitioner’s lawyers also argued the SIT, or special investigation team had clearly indicated the accused were involved in an “organized crime syndicate”, which attracted KCOCA charges.

According to the petitioner’s lawyers, Nayak was actively providing shelter to the killers and was involved in “continuous unlawful activity”, as defined within the meaning of KCOCA.

The sister of Gauri Lankesh had moved the Supreme Court for restoring charges that include the death penalty provision against a key accused in the 2017 murder of the journalist and trenchant critic of the Right-wing brand of Hindutva.

Karnataka High Court had quashed the organized crime charge against the accused, Mohan Nayak, in April this year. The BJP-led government in the state – the prosecuting agency – has so far chosen not to challenge the high court order.

The state government’s inaction has compelled Kavitha Lankesh, the younger sister of Gauri, to move a special leave petition in the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the apex court issued a notice to the Karnataka government.

Gauri was shot dead in front of her home in Bangalore on September 5, 2017. She used to run the Kannada weekly Gauri Lankesh Patrike in Bangalore.

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