The Karnataka High Court has granted bail to an accused in the murder of activist and journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Details: The bail was granted to one Mohan Nayak by a single judge bench comprising Justice S Viashwajith Shetty, according to a report by Bar & Bench.
Advocate Amar Correa represented the accused, the report said.
Special Public Prosecutor Ashok A Naik appeared for the prosecution, it added.
Why it matters: This is reportedly the first time that bail has been granted to an accused in connection with the murder of Lankesh, who had been shot dead in 2017 by two assailants outside her home in Bengaluru. The prominent journalist was also a vocal critic of right-wing Hindutva groups.
In the order, Justice Shetty reportedly pointed out that most of the 23 witnesses only spoke about Nayak taking a house on rent at Kumbalagodu in the outskirts of Bengaluru.
Nayak had reportedly been denied regular bail by the High Court twice before
“Under the circumstances, I am of the view that the prayer made by the petitioner in this petition needs to be answered affirmatively,” the Karnataka High Court was quoted as saying by Bar & Bench.
Shoddy police work? The High Court further noted that the confessions recorded by police in the case was not exactly by the book.
"Even otherwise, the requirements of Section 19 has not be complied in the present case. The confessions have not been recorded by an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police in the manner as provided under Section 19 of the COCA [Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act],” the High Court added.
Know more: According to Bar & Bench, Nayak has been in custody for more than five years in connection with the Gauri Lankesh murder.
The prosecution reportedly argued that Nayak took a house on rent in order to provide shelter to the assailants who gunned down Lankesh.
However, the accused had sought bail on the grounds of delay in finishing up the trial.
"From a perusal of the order sheet maintained by the Trial Court in Spl.CC.No872/2018, it is seen that the delay in trial cannot be attributed to the accused," the order read.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has directed officials to set up a special court for speedy disposal of the murders of Gauri Lankesh and famous writer and rationalist MM Kalburgi, according to multiple reports.