Murder Case: SC Refuses to Quash Charges against Ex-Karnataka MLA Vinay R Kulkarni

Vinay Rajashekarappa Kulkarni

The Supreme Court has refused to quash the criminal charges framed by a special court against former Karnataka MLA Vinay Rajashekarappa Kulkarni in the murder case of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker Yogesh Gowda.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kumar and Augustine George Masih declined to intervene with the Karnataka High Court order, stating that the former minister’s case was not suitable for quashing.

The top court dismissed the special leave petition filed by Congress MLA Kulkarni against the April 8 High Court order, which upheld the charges framed by the special court against him and 20 others.

Appearing for Kulkarni, Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave argued that the MLA was named only in the second charge sheet filed by the CBI and that the statement of the deceased’s widow did not mention his name.

In response, Justice Kumar noted, “You also wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary seeking the transfer of the public prosecutor because she was vigorously conducting the trial, uninfluenced by you Minister.” Dave replied, “Even when I was the minister, the trial took place, but not a whisper by the wife of the deceased.”

Justice Kumar commented, “You obviously bought over the widow… Sorry, SLP dismissed.” At this point, Dave sought permission from the apex court to withdraw the petition, which the bench refused. “This has to stop. This trying your luck at the Supreme Court, then back out, this court has become a gambling court or what?” the bench remarked.

Gowda, 26, a BJP zila panchayat member from the Hebballi constituency, was murdered on June 15, 2016, in Dharwad.
On September 24, 2019, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the investigation; Kulkarni was arrested on November 5, 2020. Kulkarni has denied the allegations made against him.

The CBI has alleged that Kulkarni had personal enmity and political rivalry with Gowda, who refused their offer to withdraw from the Zila panchayat elections in 2016.

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