Bizman murder: SC declines to allow bail plea of priest

Bizman murder: SC declines to allow bail plea of priest

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to allow for now a plea for bail moved by a priest, who was accused of killing a businessman from Udupi in conspiracy with the deceased's wife after developing illicit relationship with her, and burning of his body in a 'homa kund' in 2016.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao, however, said the accused-petitioner Niranjan Bhat can renew his plea only after the examination of 36 material witnesses during the trial in the murder case of businessman Bhaskar Shetty.

The court relied upon its order passed on a bail petition filed by Shetty's wife Rajeshwari on April 23. It had then given six months time to the trial court for examining those witnesses.

“The petitioner may renew the request for bail after 36 witnesses are examined, as mentioned in order dated 23.04.2018 passed in the case of co-accused Rajeshwari,” the bench said, disposing of the petition filed by Bhat.

Bhat, 26, represented by advocate Shekhar G Devasa, challenged the Karnataka High Court's order of June 27, 2018, rejecting his bail petition.

The high court had also relied upon the April 23 order by the apex court. Besides, it had cited the charge sheet, stating the petitioner, who developed illicit relationship with the wife of the deceased, then carrying out his business in Saudi Arabia, entered into a conspiracy with the woman and her son to continue with the extramarital relationship and knock off the huge properties.

The prosecution claimed, Rajeshwari, along with her 20-year-old son Navaneet Shetty, threw chilli powder into the eyes of her husband and assaulted him with rod. Thereafter, the accused tied victim's hands and feet and administered poison to him. Later, they carried the body of the victim to the home of Bhat and burnt it by organising 'Yagna'. Further, to destroy the evidence, the bones and body parts were thrown in the river.

The victim suspected fidelity of his wife and had lodged a complaint with Manipal police station on July 9 before his murder on July 28, 2016. The police acted on a complaint filed by victim's mother Gulabi as he went missing. The prosecution relied upon a DNA report to conclude the recovered body parts were son of the complainant.