Udupi, Jan 04, 2019: The Supreme Court on January 3, Thursday issued notice to the Karnataka government on 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 Deepak Gupta sought a response from the state government within four weeks on an application filed by Niranjan Bhat. Advocate Shekhar G Devasa, appearing for Bhat, submitted that the top court had in September last declined him bail but said that the accused can renew his plea only after examination of 36 material witnesses during the trial in the murder case of Bhaskar Shetty.
So far, a total of 44 witnesses have been examined, so the application for bail can now be considered, he submitted. Last year, the state government had listed out 36 material witnesses whose testimonies were crucial for the trial. The state government’s submission had come while considering bail petition filed by Shetty’s wife Rajeshwari, a co-accused, on April 23.
The court had then given six months time to the trial court for examining the witnesses otherwise the accused would be entitled to renew their plea for bail. The 26-year-old Bhat had challenged the Karnataka High Court’s order of June 27, 2018, rejecting his bail petition.