The Supreme Court on January 12, Friday, sought the Karnataka government's response on a plea opposing the Karnataka High court’s decision to grant bail to Mohan Nayak, one of the accused in the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. Gauri was shot dead by alleged right-wing extremists in front of her residence in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. A division bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Satish Chandra Sharma has issued a notice to both the Karnataka government and Mohan Nayak with regard to the plea.
It was on December 7, 2023, that the Karnataka HC granted bail to Mohan Nayak, a decision that was subsequently challenged before the Supreme Court by Gauri’s sister Kavitha Lankesh. Mohan is the first accused to be granted bail in the case. The bail was provided based on the observation that none of the 23 witnesses who testified about Mohan’s involvement said that he participated in the meeting where the accused allegedly plotted Gauri’s murder. The HC had previously rejected his bail applications.
The bail order said most of the witnesses in the case only mentioned that Mohan had rented a house in Kumbalagodu, located on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Mohan had allegedly taken the house on rent to shelter the assailants. The court also noted that the charges invoked against Mohan under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) didn’t warrant a life sentence or a death sentence. After examining the records, the HC found that Mohan was in custody for over five years, and concluded that the trial may not be completed anytime soon and that such delays were not the fault of the accused.
TNM has gone through the 10,000-page chargesheet in the Gauri Lankesh murder case and reported extensively on the case. Read our articles here