SC admits K'taka's plea against stay on CBI probe

SC admits consideration plea by K'taka against stay on CBI probe on BJP worker's murder

The Supreme Court on Monday (May 18) admitted a plea by the Karnataka government for consideration against the High Court's order that stayed the CBI probe into the 2016 murder of BJP worker Yogeshgouda Goudar with a needle of suspicion pointing towards former Minister and senior Congress leader Vinay Kulkarni as an accused.

A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Indu Malhotra, and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to accused Basavraj Shivappa Muttagi and others, after hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and state government counsel Shubhranshu Padhi.

The court tagged the state government's petition along with a pending plea by the CBI against the High Court's order of November 21, 2019.

The court had earlier on February 21 stayed the High Court's order which had suspended the CBI probe into the matter. It had then allowed the central investigation agency to continue its probe.

In its special leave petition, the state government said the HC's interim order stalled the entire proceedings more particularly the objective of conducting a fair and transparent investigation in the light of serious allegations made against higher police officials and involvement of politicians.

"The interim order of stay may lead to the destruction of fresh evidence, intimidation of witnesses, etc," it contended.

The CBI has taken over the investigation into the matter in September 2019 on a recommendation made by the Karnataka government after the change in the dispensation.

The state police had already completed its probe and filed its charge sheet against the prime accused Muttagi. Goudar, member district Panchayat, Dharwad was hacked to death on June 15, 2016 at his gym, allegedly by accomplices of Muttagi after sprinkling chilli powder on his face.

The victim's mother, Tungamma, has sought CBI probe into the killing, alleging the police shielded the real culprits including the then Minister of Mine and Geology since they did not investigate into receipt of an anonymous letter, a day before the murder, as well as the CCTV footage immediately after the incident from the building where Goudar was hacked to death.

They also claimed the police did not investigate the suspicious movement of a black Hyundai Accent car which came from KCD circle towards Saptapur Circle at Dharwad and again returned to the said circle as the accused persons were seen making the sign at the time of the incident.