Bhaskar Shetty murder: Supreme Court rejects wife's bail plea

Bhaskar Shetty

The Supreme Court, on Monday, rejected the bail plea moved by a woman, who was accused of killing her husband in 2016 in Udupi district and burning his body in a 'homa kund' with the help of a priest suspected to be her paramour.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao took note of the contention made by Karnataka government counsel Joseph Aristotle that 36 material witnesses were yet to be examined during the trial.

Senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil sought bail for Rajeswari Shetty, saying the 52-year-old woman was in jail for more than one and a half years and the investigation had been completed with the filing of the supplementary charge sheet.

However, the government counsel submitted a list of witnesses who are yet to be examined, including Gulabi Shetty, mother of Bhaskar, Amit Kumar, a neighbour who saw fire coming out of the 'homa kund' and other persons who were contacted by the suspect before committing the offence.

The court had, on March 19, asked the government to explain its stand on the bail petition.

In her plea, Rajeswari said there was no direct evidence in the matter and she had been roped in as a suspect only on the basis of a DNA test.

This is the second time the top court has declined to release her on bail. It had, on August 10 last, refused to release her on bail as the government contended the investigation was still on. It, however, granted her liberty to renew her plea after six months.

According to prosecution, Rajeswari, along with her 20-year-old son, Navneet Shetty threw chilli powder into the eyes of her husband Bhaskar Shetty and assaulted him with a rod. Thereafter, the suspect tied the victim's hands and feet and administered poison to him. Later, they carried the body of the victim to the house of Niranjan Bhat, the priest, and burnt it by organising a 'homa'. To destroy evidence, the bones and body parts were thrown into the river.

The victim suspected the fidelity of his wife and had lodged a police complaint with the Manipal police on July 9 last, before his murder on July 28. The police acted on the complaint filed by the victim's mother Gulabi that he had gone missing. The prosecution relied on the DNA report to conclude that the recovered body parts were that of the complainant's son.

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