Gauri Lankesh Murder Case: SC Restores Organised Crime Charges2 min read

BY- SHRADDHA TIWARI

On September 5, 2017, Gauri Lankesh who is a journalist based was shot dead from close range near her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru.

Karnataka High Court on August 18, 2018, had quashed the order of the police authority granting approval to invoke KCOCA for investigation against Mohan Nayak.

In its order, the high court had said, “If the approval order itself is bad in law, the sanction order, the charge sheet and the approval order so far as the offenses under the Act (KCOCA) against the petitioner (Nayak) have no legs to stand.”

On April 22, 2021, the state and Gauri Lankesh’s sister Kavitha Lankesh filed pleas in the Supreme Court challenging the high court verdict, Justice AM Khanwilkar is heading the bench.

While hearing arguments in the matter on September 21, the apex court had “tentatively” indicated that it is inclined to set aside a part of the high court order quashing the charge sheet.

The top court had also questioned the counsel appearing for the state on the approval for invoking KCOCA being granted by the authority without there being any prior offense registered against the accused.

The state’s counsel had said the preliminary charge sheet was filed under provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act. Thereafter, during the investigation, the role of the accused came to the notice of the investigation officer after which the approval was sought, he said.

During the arguments, the counsel appearing for the accused had said anyone can be said to be a member of the syndicate if the arguments of the prosecution are to be accepted.

Kavitha Lankesh’s counsel had argued that the high court had erred in coming to the conclusion that KCOCA was not applicable against the accused. He referred to the role of the accused, as noted in the high court order, and said it was alleged he had taken a house on rent in the guise of running an acupressure clinic but it was meant to accommodate members of the syndicate.

On October 21, 2021, Supreme Court set aside the Karnataka High Court order quashing the charge sheet against an accused in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh for purported offenses under provisions of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA).

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