The Supreme Court on Thursday said set aside a High Court order quashing the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act charges against one of the accused person in the murder case of journalist Gauri Lankesh, reported Live Law.
Lankesh, a journalist known for her strident views against Hindutva politics, was shot dead at her home in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. At least 12 people have been arrested in the case.
Her killing had sparked protests around the country, and was seen by many as another in a spate of attacks that have targeted activists and writers critical of the right wing.
In April, the Karnataka High Court had dropped the organised crimes charges against the accused man, Mohan Nayak, on the grounds that no prior chargesheet had been filed under the law to prove that he was part of the crime syndicate allegedly involved in the murder.
Guari Lankesh’s sister Kavitha Lankesh had moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s decision.
In her petition, Kavitha Lankesh had submitted that investigation in the case has shown Nayak was 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”.
During the hearing in Supreme Court on September 21, senior advocate Husefa Ahmadi, appearing for Kavitha Lankesh, had argued that chargesheet in the case had categorically said that a syndicate was involved in the commission of the crime.
“Once the argument of a syndicate is established, the argument whether a particular person [Nayak] was not part of earlier crimes of the syndicate is irrelevant,” Ahmadi had argued.
Senior Advocate Basava Prabhu S Patil, appearing for Nayak, had contended that there was a distinction between “abettor” or “harbourer” and “a member of a crime syndicate” under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act.
“If a person is not a member of the syndicate, how can he be booked under organised crime?” he asked.
However, the Supreme Court had not agreed with Patil’s submission. The court had observed that the Karnataka High Court quashed the chargesheet without analysing it properly.
“This is incorrect and this is in excess of the jurisdiction [of the High Court],” the court observed.