Mangaluru, March 21, 2019: Three years into the murder of RTI activist Vinayak Baliga in the city on Thursday, charges are yet to be framed against seven accused in the case.
Two assailants allegedly assaulted Baliga near his house at Kodialbail here on March 21, 2016.
Baliga’s neighbour Subraya Pai called his family members and informed them of the attack. Baliga’s sister Anuradha Baliga rushed to the spot with her elderly father and arranged to shift Baliga to a nearby private hospital where he died.
Following investigation, the police filed a 700-page charge-sheet on June 29, 2016 against Naresh Shenoy, a businessman, and six others, including the two assailants who had attacked Baliga.
Shenoy has been accused of conspiring with Accused No 2 Srikant and taking the services of the assailants to eliminate Baliga as he was questioning alleged maladministration in the Venkataramana Temple with which Accused No 1 (Shenoy) was associated. Shenoy was also accused of providing his vehicle to the assailants and other accused persons.
The accused were charged with offences under Sections 143, 144, 147, 120B, 302, 212, 201 of the Indian Penal Code and under Sections 5(1)(a), 25(1)(a) and 27(1) of the Arms Act. On September 15, 2016, the High Court of Karnataka granted bail to Shenoy. Among the conditions imposed included a direction to Shenoy that he should stay away from the affairs of Venkataramana Temple and Kashi Mutt and also from the committees of the temple and the mutt till the completion of trial. In the event of disobedience of the bail conditions, the High Court said that the prosecution was at liberty to seek cancellation of bail.
The Sixth Additional District and Sessions Court is conducting trial in the case.
As the stage was set for framing of charges, advocate for Anuradha Baliga filed an application on October 6 ,2018 under Section 439 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code seeking cancellation of bail to Shenoy. In her application, she pointed out Shenoy’s reported participation in an activity related to the Kashi Mutt at Tirupati, which, she said, was violation of the bail condition. After receiving objections from Shenoy, the court has now posted the case to April 11, 2019 for hearing the application.