The First Additional District and Sessions Judge G.D. Narasimhamurthy posted to Tuesday for orders on the bail application of Kasturi News Channel reporter Naveen Soorinje.
Mr. Soorinje, who reported the attack on young men and women attending a birthday party on July 28 at Padil, was arrested on November 7 following submission of charge sheet by the police on September 29.
Mr. Soorinje has been charged with the other 43 others of abetting commission of offences, including outraging modesty of women, dacoity and unlawful assembly.
In his submissions to the court, senior counsel S. Balan, who represented Mr. Soorinje, said his client had been victimised for being a whistleblower of the shocking attack. “Indeed he should have been made a witness,” he said, adding that the investigating officer has mentioned Mr. Soorinje’s name in the charge sheet with the ulterior motive of saving the attackers.
Mr. Balan submitted that there was nothing in the evidence collected by the police to show that Mr. Soorinje was a part of the unlawful assembly. Nothing had been recovered from Mr. Soorinje with regard to the offence of dacoity. On July 28, Mr. Soorinje was at the site of the incident in his capacity as a reporter and discharged duties mandated upon him. Public Prosecutor Majunath Bhat Panne said it was too early to state whether Mr. Soorinje was a part of the unlawful assembly or not. Mr. Panne said while deciding on the bail application, the court need not go into the merits of the evidence but satisfy itself about presence of prima facie evidence in support of the charge. The prosecutor contended that there was sufficient material in support of the charges made against Mr. Soorinje and the other accused.
He also pointed that the court had already rejected bail applications filed by the other accused.
Earlier, the judge expressed his inability to conduct the hearing the bail application as he was under the order of transfer. The judge said he has not been passing any order for the past week as he was expecting official intimation.