Udupi, Oct 12: The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Karnataka government on a plea for bail moved by a priest, who was accused of killing an NRI businessman from Udupi in conspiracy with the deceased's wife after developing an illicit relationship with her, and burning of his body in a 'homa kund' in 2016.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian sought a reply from the state government within two weeks on the petition by 30-year-old Niranjan Bhat.
The petitioner challenged the validity of the High Court's order of July 27.
The HC has noted that the top court had on May 10, 2019, disposed of Bhat's plea for bail saying that some material witnesses were yet to be examined, which would take six months. The court had asked Bhat to move his bail plea after that.
The HC further pointed out that some witnesses have been recalled at the instance of the accused and they were yet to be cross-examined through video conferencing.
In the matter, Shetty's wife Rajeshwari, a co-accused, has been granted bail.
According to the prosecution, Rajeshwari, along with her 20-year-old son, Navneet Shetty threw chilly powder into the eyes of her husband and assaulted him with a rod. Thereafter, the accused tied the victim's hands and feet and administered poison to him. Later, they carried the body of the victim to Bhat's house and burnt it by organising 'Yagna'. Further, to destroy the evidence, the bones and body parts were thrown in the river.
The victim suspected the fidelity of his wife and had lodged a police complaint with Manipal police station on July 9 before his murder on July 28, 2016. The police acted on a complaint filed by the victim's mother Gulabi as he went missing. The prosecution relied upon a DNA report to conclude the recovered body parts were the son of the complainant.