Mangaluru, June 27, 2016: Yuva Brigade Founder Naresh Shenoy who has been named as prime accused in the RTI activist Vinayak Baliga murder case, was produced before the Third JMFC Court on June 27, Monday. It may be recalled here that Shenoy who was at large for over two months after the murder, was arrested by the police recently.
Shenoy was escorted to the court by Urwa Inspector Ravish Nayak, while ACP Tilak Chandra who happens to be the Special Investigation Officer in the case, produced him before the court.
He has been remanded to police custody for three days.
In the mean time, sources say that he has been trying get a medical admission in a Private hospital.
It may be recalled that RTI activist Vinayak Baliga had been murdered by hired killers on 21st March this year. Baliga was hacked at about 5:45 a.m. close to his residence in the lane adjacent to Sterling Chambers near Kala Kunj in the city. The case had generated much public interest as the investigation which was personally led by Commissioner M. Chandra Shekar had revealed the hand of Naresh Shenoy in the crime. Naresh Shenoy is a popular right wing youth leader and founder of Namo Brigade which had orchestrated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election campaign in 2014. He runs an Ayurvedic medicine distribution firm called Vivek Traders at V. T. Road in the city.
After his name came up in the investigation, Shenoy had absconded from the city on 24th March and had been evading arrest for last three months. During this period, he had made two failed attempts to gain anticipatory bail, first from District Sessions Court and next from the state High Court.
So far seven arrests have been made with regard to the case. Apart from Naresh the other arrested are Shrikanth (42), Shailesh alais Shailu (40), Shiva alias Shiva Prasanna (28), Vineeth Poojary (26) and Nischith Devadiga (23).
Naresh’s close friend and associate, photographer K. Manjunath Shenoy alias Manju (39) was also arrested for helping the accused to abscond. He was later granted bail.
Due to the public interest issues pursued by the murder victim and the powerful political connections of the accused, the noted activist and rationalist Prof. Narendra Nayak had taken up the cause and led a spirited campaign for gaining justice for Vinayak Baliga.
It is suspected that the motive for the murder relates to financial irregularities in Venkatramana Temple, Car Street and Kashi Math. Both these are cash rich religious entities belonging to Gauda Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) community. Naresh Shenoy was actively involved with both of them.
It is learnt that Vinayak Baliga - a fellow GSB community member – had been attempting to expose the underhand dealings of the culprits in these religious bodies. A suspected larger conspiracy with more powerful backroom players is also expected to be revealed in the probe.