Supreme Court Issues Notice On Gauri Lankesh Murder Accused's Bail Plea

Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in September 2017 (File)

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said 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 top court issued a notice to the Karnataka government and others connected with the case in this regard. The High Court is to pass orders on Nayak’s bail plea tomorrow.

The Supreme Court order was in response to a plea by filmmaker Kavita Lankesh, who had challenged the High Court verdict cancelling KCOCA charges against Mohan Nayak.

Kavita Lankesh is the sister of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead in Bengaluru in 2017.

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 “organised 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.

It was after this, the lawyers said, a supplementary charge sheet with KCOCA charges was filed.

A three-member Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose then said the bail should be decided uninfluenced by the High Court verdict.