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Supreme Court issues notice to Karnataka, CBI in 2016 Dharwad BJP worker murder case

The accused, Basavaraj Shivappa Muttagi, and another filed an application in the Apex Court praying and seeking direction against CBI not to proceed with re-investigation and take any coercive action during the situation of nationwide lockdown.

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The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the CBI and the state of Karnataka returnable on July 26 while hearing a petition filed by Vinay Kulkarni, the former minister who is accused of the murder of BJP worker Yogeshgouda Goudar on June 15, 2016 after he defeated rival Congress candidate in Zila Panchayat in Dharwad. 

A three-judge bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit and comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Aniruddha Bose heard Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared on behalf of the CBI, and Advocate Patil for Chandrashekhar Indi.

while hearing the petition have also issued notice to CBI and asked to file an affidavit within 7 days. The Bench which also comprised of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Aniruddha Bose has heard the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the CBI, and Adv Patil appears for Chandrashekhar Indi. 

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared on behalf of Vinay Kulkarni, has submitted before the Court that petitioner Vinay Kulkarni is a political figure, a minister. He gets thousands of calls. “Why should my client be in jail based on those alleged calls especially when all other accused persons including the main accused has already been enlarged on bail?” he asked. He challenged the order passed by the Karnataka High Court and submitted that Para 20 and 23 of the Court’s order do not in any way involve the present petitioner. He further said the charge-sheet filed by CBI is in nullity.

The Solicitor General has made an objection on the maintainability of the present petition. The Court has asked the SG to place his affidavit on record. The Court asked to file a rejoinder, if any, on or before July 24, and ordered to list this matter on July 26 for the final disposal.  

In its previous order, the Apex Court refused to grant any immediate relief to the accused on their plea to restrain the CBI from taking any coercive action against them during the “re-investigation” of the matter due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The court has allowed the CBI to go ahead with its probe. 

After the killing of Yogeshgouda Goudar, his family members suspected the role of former Minister and Congress leader Vinay Kulkarni into the murder. Later, CBI arrested six ‘supari’ killers. 

The accused, Basavaraj Shivappa Muttagi, and another filed an application in the Apex Court praying and seeking direction against CBI not to proceed with re-investigation and take any coercive action during the situation of nationwide lockdown. 
The Court, however, considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the issue involved, was of the view that the matter requires a regular hearing and put it for consideration in July 2020. 

Also Read: Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking directions to Centre to fix time limit for ending caste-based reservation in education

Though in February 21, on the petition filed by the CBI, the Apex Court stayed the High Court’s order of November 21, 2019, which suspended the probe by the central agency into the matter. The Karnataka government also separately challenged the HC’s order. 

Yesterday, the Court has heard all the four petitions jointly, filed by the CBI, the state of Karnataka, Vinay Kulkarni, and Chandrashekhar Indi and ordered to list this matter on July 26 for final hearing and disposal.

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