The Karnataka High Court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to advocate K.B. Shivakumar in connection with a land dispute, observing that there was “no allegation” against that the latter that he had “demanded money” from a judge’s son .

Mr. Shivakumar is the prime accused in a case registered by the High Grounds police, who acted on a complaint lodged by Phaniraj Kashyap, son of Justice K. Sreedhar Rao - the senior most judge of the Karnataka High Court.

The Court accordingly ordered the police to release Mr. Shivakumar in the event of his arrest, after securing a bond for Rs. 50,000 and directing him to cooperate with the police and not to tamper with the evidences.

In his order, Justice H.N. Nagamohan Das observed that “merely because the petitioner [Mr. Shivakumar] drafted the writ petition on the basis of instructions given by his clients, it cannot be said that he has committed a serious crime disabling him to seek anticipatory bail.”

In his complaint, Mr. Phaniraj had claimed that Mr. Shivakumar and others, in a “proposed” writ petition, had made “wild allegations against his father [Mr. Rao] that he [the judge] had influenced the Deputy Commissioner” for passing a favourable order in connection with the claims made by original land owners on the property purchased by him.

Mr. Phaniraj further alleged that the intention of the “proposed” writ petition was to blackmail and threaten his father. .

Justice Das further rejected the prosecution’s pleas to play a CD allegedly containing the voice recording of another accused in the case, observing that the prosecution had not stated the date or the place of the CD’s seizure besides omitting to mention in the complaint that such a CD was submitted to the High Grounds police at the time of lodging the complaint.

While pointing out that the police had failed to produce any material to indicate that that Mr. Shivakumar was indulged in any criminal activity earlier, the Court observed that “the possibility of Mr. Shivakumar’s fleeing from justice was absent as he had been a city-based advocate with 30 years experience.”

Justice Das also held that there was no bar for the High Court to entertain a plea for anticipatory bail directly when the accused had not sought anticipatory bail from the trial court.

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