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Innocent Admission

Gauri Lankesh murder: SC notice on dropping of organized crime Act against an accused

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New Delhi, June 29, 2021 (Agency) The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Karnataka government on an appeal filed by filmmaker Kavitha Lankesh, sister of journalist Gauri Lankesh, challenging the Karnataka High Court order quashing charges under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) against one of the accused in the murder of her sister.

The plea claimed the investigation by SIT has revealed that Respondent No. 6, Mohan Nayak, is part of the syndicate led by Amol Kale which has committed multiple organized crimes apart from the murder of Gauri Lankesh.

The plea said charge-sheets have been filed with respect to the murders of Dr Narendra Dabolkar in 2013, Govinda Pansare in 2015, Dr M.M. Kalburgi in 2015 and conspiracy to murder Prof Bhagavan in 2018. “Accordingly, the condition of at least 2 charge-sheets having been filed against the syndicate in the last 10 years along with cognizance by competent court stands fulfilled and invocation of KCOCA against Respondent No. 6 stands justified”, added the plea.

The plea added that Nayak had moved the Karnataka High Court for bail after charges against him under KCOCA were quashed by the High Court, and the bail hearing has been completed in the matter.

A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose after hearing arguments by senior counsel Huzefa Ahmadi assisted by advocate Aparna Bhat, representing the petitioner, issued notice to the Karnataka government and scheduled the case for further hearing on July 15.

The High Court on April 22 quashed the order of the Bengaluru Commissioner of Police passed in 2018 and the supplementary charge-sheet filed thereafter. Offences under Sections 3(1)(i), 3(2), 3(3) and 3(4) of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000 against Mohan Nayak were, thereby, dropped.

The top court observed that the accused cannot be granted bail till the plea is heard and disposed off by the Supreme Court.

The plea claimed Nayak has been actively involved in providing shelter to the killers prior to and after committing the offence and has participated in a series of conspiracies, abetting, planning, providing logistics. “With regard to Respondent No. 6’s involvement in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, the investigating agency has collected sufficient material to connect him with the case and establish his intimate nexus with the mastermind behind the entire event i.e. Accused No.1 Amol Kale and master arms trainer Accused No. 8 Rajesh D. Bangera who are part and parcel of an “organized crime syndicate” from its inception”, added the plea.

The plea said: “The High Court has failed to appreciate that on a bare perusal of several judgments on the question of invoking provisions of KCOCA, it is revealed that the requirement of one or more charge-sheet relates to unlawful activity of an organized crime syndicate and does not pertain to a particular member of the crime syndicate.”

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