BENGALURU: A city court has framed charges against 17 accused, who are allegedly involved in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. The next hearing is on December 8, when the trial for the case will be fixed. Though the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had submitted a charge-sheet three years ago, the accused had filed multiple pleas delaying the framing of charges, which is necessary to begin the trial.
However, days after the Supreme Court upheld the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000 against accused Mohan Nayak, the Special Court cited the judgement against the 17 accused. On Saturday, the accused were produced before the court through video conferencing, from Bengaluru Central Prison, Yerwada Central Prison in Pune, and Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai. The charges were explained to the accused in Marathi and Kannada. They plead not-guilty, and asked for a trial.
The court also directed prison authorities against transferring the accused to another prison, without a specific court order. Charges against the accused are under sections 302 (murder), 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 118 (concealing design to commit offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and 35 (when such an act is criminal by reason of its being done with a criminal knowledge or intention) of the IPC, and under the provisions of the Arms Act and the KCOCA.
Gauri Lankesh was murdered by gunmen outside her home at Ideal Homes Layout in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on September 5, 2017 night.