The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 29 June, issued notice to Karnataka government on an appeal filed by filmmaker Kavitha Lankesh challenging the Karnataka High Court order which dropped charges under Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA), against one of the accused, Mohan Nayak, in the assassination case of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

The plea stated that after charges against Nayak under KCOCA were quashed by the High Court, Nayak had moved the Karnataka High Court for bail. The High Court is to pass orders on Nayak’s bail plea tomorrow.

A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose posted the case for further hearing on 15 July and issued notice in the matter to Karnataka government.

While issuing the notice, the top court observed that the accused cannot be granted bail till the plea is heard and disposed of by the Supreme Court, Bar & Bench reported.

The plea stated, “Probe proved that 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. Therefore, he is involved in ‘continuous unlawful activity’.

It added, “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 master mind 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 ‘organised crime syndicate’ from its inception,” Bar & Bench reported.

The Karnataka High Court had quashed the order of Bengaluru Commisioner of Police passed in 2018, on 22 April 2021, thereby dropping offences under Sections 3(1)(i), 3(2), 3(3) and 3(4) of the KCOCA, against Nayak.

It was further claimed that the investigation undertaken by SIT revealed that Nayak is part of the syndicate led by Amol Kale which had committed multiple organised crimes including the murder of Dr Narendra Dabolkar in Pune in 2013, Govinda Pansare in Kolhapur in 2015, Dr MM Kalburgi in 2015 and had also allegedly conspired to murder Prof Bhagavan of Mysore in 2018.
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