Karnataka HC grants bail to Gauri Lankesh murder accused Mohan Nayak

Mohan Nayak is the first accused in the Gauri Lankesh case to secure bail.
Gauri Lankesh
Gauri Lankesh
Written by:

Mohan Nayak, an accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, has been granted bail by the Karnataka High Court. The decision, based on the accused petitioner's plea, was made by Justice S Vishwajith Shetty. The petition was allowed following the Justice noting that the accused cannot be blamed for the trial delay. Mohan Nayak is the first accused in the case to secure bail.

The primary allegation against Nayak was that he provided shelter to the two main accused responsible for shooting Gauri Lankesh in a rented house in Kumbalgodu on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Despite filing bail applications twice before the special court and challenging the bail rejection in the high court, Nayak filed another petition citing undue trial delays after his previous bail application was rejected on July 6, 2023.

Justice S Vishwajith Shetty said in the order that none of the 23 witnesses implicating Nayak mentioned his participation in the meeting where Gauri’s murder was conspired. Most witnesses only testified about Nayak renting a house in Kumbalagodu. The petitioner has been in custody for over five years, and despite a high court directive in 2019 to expedite the trial, there has been insufficient progress, with only 90 out of 527 charge sheet witnesses examined.

Taking into account the prolonged duration, the High Court said that despite the stringent provisions of Section 22(4) of COCA (Control of Organized Crimes Act) for bail under certain conditions, the court has the authority to grant bail when there is undue trial delay. "Petitioner has been in custody for the last more than five years. Though Section 22(4) of COCA provides for certain rigors for enlarging the accused on bail as against whom charges are made for the offences punishable under the COCA, the same cannot fetter the powers of this Court to enlarge the accused on bail when there is undue delay in trial and the material on record would go to show that the trial may not be completed any time soon,” it said. It was also stated that out of 527 charge sheet witnesses, only 90 have been examined so far.

Nayak faces charges under Sections 302, 120B, 118, 203, and 35 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with Sections 25(1) & 27(1) of the Indian Arms Act, 1959, and Sections 3(1)(i), 3(2), 3(3), & 3(4) of the Karnataka Control of Organized Crimes Act, 2000 (COCA). Following the grant of bail, Nayak was released on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of similar amounts.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute