The Supreme Court has granted bail to Congress leader and former Karnataka Minister Vinay Kulkarni, who was arrested on November 5, 2020 in relation to the murder of BJP worker Yogesh Gowda.
The bench of Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Ajay Rastogi directed that Kulkarni be produced before the Trial Court within 3 days and also directed the Trial Court to grant bail subject to its conditions. To ensure that Kulkarni does not impede in the conduct of the investigation, in addition to the Trial Court directions, the Apex Court has restrained Kulkarni from entering Dharwad district. The Apex Court also asked Kulkarni to mark his presence before CBI ACP office twice a week.
Earlier, the Apex Court had 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 Yogesh Gowda, his family members suspected the role of Kulkarni in the murder. Later, the CBI arrested six contract 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 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.
Though on 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 order.