The Supreme Court granted bail to former Karnataka Minister Vinay Kulkarni in the 2016 murder case of Yogesh Gowda, a BJP district panchayat member. A bench of Justice UU Lalit and Ajaj Rastogi also noted that he shall be produced before the concerned trial court within three days from August 11, LiveLaw reported. Kulkarniās bail plea, however, was reportedly opposed by the Central Bureau of Investigation that was probing the case.
Yogesh Gowda was killed in June 2016 outside a gym in Dharwad. The case was transferred to the CBI in 2019, after the BJP came into power in the state. The CBI filed a chargesheet against the accused in May 2020 and subsequently arrested Vinay Kulkarni in November 2020. Kulkarni, who was a minister in the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, is also accused of tampering with evidence, bribing a police officer to file a false chargesheet and diverting the investigation, The New Indian Express reported. His bail plea was earlier denied twice, by a lower court as well as the Karnataka High Court.
The Supreme Court bench noted that, with his bail being granted now, Kulkarni cannot obstruct the trial, get in touch with witnesses or influence them in any way. The former minister has also been instructed to remain in Bengaluru until the trial passes an order in the case. The bench also directed him to appear before the CBI twice every week, and if he violates any of these conditions, his bail will be revoked.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for the former Congress leader, had contested in court on August 10 that there was a discrepancy in the Dharwad Police and CBIās reports. Dharwad police said that Yogesh Gowda was murdered over a property dispute while the CBI said he was killed due to a political row, LiveLaw quoted the lawyer as saying. He then contended that there should be a renewed investigation of the case. However, the same was contested by Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the CBI, who said that the case was of further investigation and not reinvestigation.