Supreme Court refuses to quash charges framed against former K’taka minister Vinay Kulkarni

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to quash criminal charges framed by a special court against Congress MLA Vinay Rajashekarappa Kulkarni in the murder case of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker Yogesh Goudar.

A vacation bench of Justices Sanjay Kumar and Augustine George Masih refused to interfere with the Karnataka High Court order and said the former minister’s case was not a fit one for quashing. “This is not a case for quashing”, said the bench.

The apex court dismissed the special leave petition filed by Congress MLA Kulkarni against the April 8 High Court order, which upheld the charges framed by the special court against him and 20 others.

Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave, appearing for Kulkarni, told the top court that the MLA has been named only in the second chargesheet filed by the CBI and that the statement of the deceased’s widow doesn’t disclose his name.

To this, Justice Kumar observed, “You also write a letter to the Chief Secretary seeking transfer of the public prosecutor because she was vigorously conducting the trial, uninfluenced by you as minister”.

Dave replied, “Even when I was the minister, the trial took place, but not a whisper by the wife of the deceased”. Justice Kumar said, “You obviously bought over the widow… Sorry, SLP dismissed”.

At this juncture, Dave sought permission from the apex court to withdraw the petition, which the bench refused. “This has to stop. This trying your luck at the Supreme Court, then back out, this court has become a gambling court or what?” the apex court said.

Yogesh Goudar (26), a BJP zila panchayat member from Hebballi constituency, was murdered on June 15, 2016, at Dharwad. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the investigation on September 24, 2019, and arrested Kulkarni on November 5, 2020. Kulkarni has denied the allegations levelled against him.

The CBI has alleged that Kulkarni had personal enmity and political rivalry with Goudar, who rejected their offer to withdraw from the Zila panchayat elections in 2016. (ANI)

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