Supreme Court to hear plea of Gauri Lankesh's sister against high court order

Published on Sep 08, 2021 06:51 AM IST

Kavitha Lankesh insists that accused Mohan Nayak, according to an SIT probe, is part of a ‘syndicate’ responsible for multiple instances of organised crime, including the murder of her sister, as well as those of other activists such as Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

The murder of Gauri Lankesh triggered a massive outrage across India with citizens voicing their protests against the alleged repression of journalists and activists in the country. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
The murder of Gauri Lankesh triggered a massive outrage across India with citizens voicing their protests against the alleged repression of journalists and activists in the country. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Wednesday a petition by Kavitha Lankesh, the sister of murdered activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh, in connection with the dropping of criminal charges against Mohan Nayak, one of the accused in the case. The top court had last month scheduled the hearing in the matter for September 8, with a Supreme Court bench led by Justice AM Khanwilker issuing a notice to Karnataka on the petition.

Kavitha Lankesh, a filmmaker by profession, had filed the petition opposing the Karnataka high court's decision last April to drop charges against accused Mohan Nayak under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA). The state high court had quashed these charges after dismissing a report by the Bengaluru police commissioner as well as the supplementary charge sheet filed in the case.

Lankesh insists that Nayak, according to a special investigation team (SIT) probe, is part of a ‘syndicate’ responsible for multiple instances of organised crime, including the murder of her sister – the journalist Gauri Lankesh – as well as those of other activists such as Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. According to Lankesh's petition, Nayak is also a close associate of Amol Kale and Rajesh Bangera, both of who are the chief accused in the case. The plea mentions that as defined by the KCOCA, Nayak was involved in “continuous unlawful activity” by providing shelter to the key accused individuals. It says that the Karnataka high court “failed to appreciate the fact that the sanction order under Section 24(2) KCOCA was neither challenged nor assailed, and only order under Section 24(1)(a) had been challenged.”

Mohan Nayak, the accused in this matter, is represented by senior advocate Basava Prabhu S Patil. Pointing out that his client has already been in custody for three years now, he had asked the top court to provide an early date for the hearing.

Notably, the Supreme Court had earlier this year said that Mohan Nayak would not be granted bail in the murder case until the plea filed by Kavitha Lankesh was decided upon.

Gauri Lankesh, a noted journalist and activist, was shot dead on the night of September 5, 2017, from a close range in front of her Rajarajeshwari Nagar house around 8pm. The murder triggered a massive outrage across India with citizens voicing their protests against the alleged repression of journalists and activists in the country. The impact of the case was also seen as one extending beyond borders; this year, the Canadian city of Burnaby decided to observe ‘Gauri Lankesh Day’ on September 5 to mark her death anniversary.

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