Gauri Lankesh murder accused Mohan Nayak gets bail after delay in trial
Nayak is the first among all arrested to be granted bail.
Noted journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder accused, Mohan Nayak, was released out on bail by the Karnataka High Court on Friday. He was the 11th accused in the case, in which police had arrested a total of 17 people.
This comes days after Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah instructed authorities to set up a special court to try the killings of both Lankesh and famous litterateur M M Kalburgi. Lankesh was murdered near her Bengaluru residence on September 5, 2017.
The High Court in its judgement said, "In the present case, out of 527 charge sheet witnesses, only 90 witnesses have been examined. This Court on 11.02.2019 directed the Trial Court to expedite the trial. Though charges were framed in the present case on 30.10.2021, for the last more than two years, only 90 witnesses have been examined. There are more than 400 charge sheet witnesses who are yet to be examined in the case. Even if it is assumed that all the witnesses mentioned in the charge sheet may not be examined in the case, considering the fact that only 90 witnesses have been examined for the last more than two years, it can be safely presumed that any time soon, the trial of the case may not be completed."
“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,” The HC added, noting the delay in trial.
"From a perusal of the order sheet maintained by the Trial Court in Spl.CC.No.872/2018, it is seen that delay in trial cannot be attributed to the accused," It further stated.