“Bail granted by Karnataka High Court in Saibanna Murder Case: A Closer Look at the Land Dispute and Conspiracy”
Saibanna vs The State Of Karnataka
16 May, 2023
Bench: Hon’ble Hanchate Sanjeevkumar
In a recent development, the Karnataka High Court, Kalaburagi Bench, granted bail to Saibanna, accused No. 2 in the murder case of Nagappa. The case, registered under Sections 302, 201, 120(B) r/w Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), revolves around a land dispute and an alleged conspiracy by the accused to eliminate the deceased for financial gain. The court’s decision to grant bail comes after several delays in the trial, primarily attributed to non-cooperation by the state and the police’s failure to produce the accused before the court.
The complainant, Nagappa’s wife, revealed that Nagappa and his three brothers, including accused Nos. 1 to 3, jointly purchased agricultural land in 2009. Subsequently, a family partition occurred, allotting Nagappa a share of 3 acres 29 guntas in Sy.No.88/05. However, the land’s revenue records continued to bear accused No. 1’s name. The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) proposed to acquire the land, offering compensation of Rs.17,42,030 per acre. Accused No. 1 suggested a redistribution of the compensation among the brothers, which Nagappa rejected, claiming sole entitlement. This led to tension and a conspiracy among accused Nos. 1 to 4 to eliminate Nagappa.
The Alleged Conspiracy and Murder:
Accused Nos. 1 to 4 conspired to murder Nagappa, believing it would enable them to receive the entire compensation amount. They discovered Nagappa’s alleged illicit relationship with accused No. 5 and decided to execute the plan at the latter’s residence. On March 12, 2020, they murdered Nagappa in accused No. 5’s house and subsequently disposed of his body in a canal. The body was discovered on March 18, 2020, leading to the registration of Crime No. 32/2020 at Gogi Police Station.
The Bail Application:
Saibanna, accused No. 2, filed a bail application under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.), seeking his release. The defense argued that the case relied solely on circumstantial evidence and that the allegations against Saibanna held minimal weight. Furthermore, they highlighted his custody since March 29, 2020, spanning over three years, as grounds for granting bail. The defense also mentioned previous court directives to expedite the trial, which had not been followed due to the state’s non-cooperation and the police’s failure to produce the accused.
The Prosecution’s Opposition:
The prosecution, represented by the High Court Government Pleader, opposed the bail application, emphasizing the severe allegations of murder for financial gain against the accused. They argued that granting bail would not be appropriate considering the gravity of the charges.
Court’s Decision and Conditions for Bail:
After considering the arguments presented, the court decided to grant bail to Saibanna, accused No. 2. The court acknowledged the delays in the trial caused by the state’s non-cooperation and the police’s failure to produce the accused before the court. Saibanna had been in custody since March 29, 2020. The court deemed the alleged role of holding the legs of the deceased as relatively less significant. As part of the bail conditions, Saibanna was required to execute a personal bond of Rs.2,00,000 with two solvent sureties of the same amount. Additionally, he was prohibited from threatening or tampering with prosecution witnesses and instructed to attend all court hearings regularly to expedite the case’s disposal
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SHREEYA S SHEKAR