SC reserves order on quashing KCOCA against accused in Gauri Lankesh murdertext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on striking down 'stringent section' against accused in Gauri Lankesh murder.
The decision was based 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.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmedi, representing Lankesh, argued before a Justice A.M. Khanwilkar-led bench that the charge sheet categorically made out a case for a syndicate involved in the crime, so the argument about whether or not a specific person was not a part of earlier crimes by the syndicate was irrelevant. Citing that incident had occurred four years ago, he added that charges were yet to be framed in the case.
Senior lawyer Basava Prabhu Patil, who is representing accused Mohan Nayak, cited the distinction between "abettor" or "harbourer" and "a member of a crime syndicate" under the KCOCA and stressed that the abettor cannot necessarily be equated to a syndicate member.
Querying whether it is correct to brand a person as a member of organised crime, at the stage of FIR against him, he questioned the validity of that label because there was no evidence to support it.
The plea said charge sheets have been filed with respect to the murders of Dr Narendra Dabolkar in 2013, Govind 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 cognisance by competent court stands fulfilled and invocation of KCOCA against Respondent No. 6 (Nayak) stands justified," added the plea.
Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar were also on the panel, which, after hearing all the arguments, decided to reserve its decision.
Gauri Lankesh was killed on September 5, 2017, outside her house at Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bengaluru.