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YOGESH GOWDA MURDER CASE: BAIL GRANT

UNIFORM CIVIL CODE

Background

Murder, defined under Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code is an act of intentionally taking away the lives of individuals and a respective punishment is granted for the same. It is considered as one of the most heinous crimes, even after the amendment of the Juvenile Justice court, the children of the 16-18 age group would also be stated liable for the same.

And, Bail refers to the provisional release of the accused in a criminal case in which the court is yet to announce the judgment as mentioned under sections 437 and 439 of Cr. P.C. There are enormous cases of murders and honour killing, not only in India but worldwide and everyone expresses sorrows and grievances for the same. But still, the judiciary needs to tighten the laws and legislations to deal with the cases efficiently and let the wrong-doer behind the bars in the nearest hour.

One of the atrocities was encountered by Yogesh Gowda in Karnataka while continuing in his daily life activity. The same assures how a person is unsafe despite power and prejudice, and any social or political conflict could certainly result in his/her life at extreme risk.  Although, every next person hopes that these murders, which obliterate that same honour they propose to restore, might someday cease. 

The Case: 

BJP Zilla Panchayat member Yogesh Gowda, from the Hebballi constituency, was murdered by unidentified men, who came outside his gym on a bike on June 15, 2016. The event took place in Dharwad. Subsequently, the police authority took the issue in concern and arrested six persons and charge-sheeted them for the murder of Yogesh Gowda. Then, the entire case was handed over to CBI last year after BJP took the power of a state under its control as the brother of Yogesh Gowda namely Gurunath Gowda demanded a CBI probe into the case.

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Following the same, CBI considered the matter on September 24, 2019, and arrested around eight individuals, then filed a charge sheet on May 20, 2020. Further, certain declarations were made in the CBI investigation that reflected on ‘political rivalry’ as the basis of the murder.

Further, CBI published some sources, based on which India allegedly arranged country-made pistols used by prime accused Basappa Shivappa Muttagi, to kill Gowda. In the same regard, several investigations were made and the count of accused increased significantly to eight, including Vinay Kulkarni who got arrested on 5th November 2020. 

Vinay Kulkarni and Links: 

As mentioned before, Vinay Kulkarni was identified to be a major part of the entire happening and he was quite famous as a former Karnataka Minister and Congress leader. Vinay was arrested on November 05, 2020, and kept in judicial custody in the Hindalga Jail of Belagavi. Several bail petitions were filed but rejected by the court twice, first by the lower court and followed by the High Court. 

CBI Special Court Judge Gangadhara C M extended his judicial custody for seven days and ordered the investigating agency to produce him before the court on December 28. Another co-accused in case, Kulkarni’s relative Chandrashekhar Indi, was arrested by the CBI and remanded in custody until December 28. Indi allegedly arranged for country-made pistols to be used by prime accused Basappa Shivappa Muttagi to kill Gowda, according to CBI sources. “These weapons were previously recovered from Muttagi’s premises. According to sources, one of them was used to commit the crime.

BAIL-DAY FOR VINAY

Finally, on Wednesday 11-August-2021, Vinay was granted bail by the Supreme Court. The bench of Supreme Court, adjudicating the matter was constituting Justice UU Lalit and Justice Ajay Rastogi and allowed him to be presented before the trial court within 3 days from then and the bail would be granted only according to the mentioned conditions by the court.

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Along with it, the top court has imposed several conditions to be followed by the former Congress leader which stated that the appellant shall not impede conduct and investigation trial or proceedings in any possible way, also he shall not get in touch directly or indirectly with any witness or shall try to influence any such witness, a restriction also imposed on the appellant to not enter the district of Dharwad ( Place of the event), till any further order by Trial court and shall reside in Bangalore itself.

Further, the appellant shall mark his presence twice a week before the CBI ACP. And lastly, violation of any of the mentioned conditions would deliberately result in the cancellation of the bill. 

ARGUMENTS FOR THE GRANT: 

The advocate Mukul Rastogi argued for the grant of bail and drew the attention of the court towards the different versions in the challan submitted by the police authority and CBI wherein ‘property dispute’ was identified by the local people of the area as the basic reason of the crime and murder but the CBI stated ‘political rivalry’ as a basis of it.

Also, senior counsel Rastogi went on saying that the story is different here. And, he consented his opinion that the regarded case needs to be dealt with as a fresh case and reinvestigation needs to be done in the same regard.

 Also, Senior Advocate Mukul Rastogi, while arguing for bail plea presented before the court that the CBI conducted a further investigation on the concerned matter under section 178(8) CrPC without Magistrate’s permission, but he has no right to actually walk in and hijack the trial, and the law talks about permission and certainly not the investigation. And, the judge is not a post office i.e., when they walked in and made the submission of a memorial, they didn’t actually take the permission of the magistrate which was essential to be completed.

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NEGATION OF ARGUMENTS BY CBI’S REPRESENTATIVE: 

However, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju pleaded from the side of CBI and stated that there is a need for further investigation and certainly not re-investigation under section 178(8) of the CrPC, 1973. And, the underlying principle to do the same is to ascertain ‘Justice’, SV Raju further advocated and mentioned clearly that the conspiracy ‘hatched’ for the murder of Yogesh and it doesn’t end with the murder of Yogesh but further includes the person who is innocent but accused of the crime and under police custody.

Also, SV Raju assures that Kulkarni was involved in every step of the conspiracy. Lastly, ASG mentioned that the police were bribed by giving 2 lakh rupees and the same has come on record, also the witnesses of the case were taken to a hotel and tortured harshly by the advocated and all of these facts have been mentioned clearly in the CBI’s investigation and Vinay was considerably a part in every step from conspiracy to commitment. 

Conclusion

Thus, the entire case scenario reflects upon the delayed justice in terms of Yogesh Gowda murder, as an observation could be drawn over the period of case trial. Also, by assuming the timeline for re-investigation as asked repeatedly by the accused, a conclusion and thereby punishment to the wrong-doer is postponed, which might actually degrade the system of justice delivery and one of the ‘tiers’ of Government i.e., Judiciary.

Thus, it needs to be looked upon by enhancing the speed of investigations and appointing more individuals in the field of law. 

Author/Editor

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