Mangaluru, Apr 24, 2018: The Supreme Court, on April 23, Monday, rejected for now the bail plea moved by a woman, who was accused of killing her husband in Udupi district in 2016 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.
The top court said petitioner Rajeswari Shetty could be released on bail only after examination of all 36 witnesses. It directed the trial court to examine those witnesses within a period of six months and disposed of the plea.
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 and Amit Kumar, a neighbour who saw fire coming out of the ’homa kund,’ who were contacted by the suspect before committing the offence. These witnesses could be influenced by her, he said.
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.
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 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.