RTI activist’s murder

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday rejected the plea of Gowramma Govindaraju, BBMP councillor for Azadnagar and an accused in RTI activist Lingaraju’s murder case, for deleting certain remarks in an order made in a public interest litigation (PIL) petition that was initiated suo motu by the court after the murder.

She had filed an application seeking for deletion of a portion of the December 10, 2012 order, in which the High Court had expressed surprise on the inaction of the police in not making her an accused in the case, in which her husband, Govindaraju, is accused of murdering the victim through hired killers.

Her counsel’s contention was that the remarks made by the High Court would influence the trial court, where the case is pending for trail. And the remarks were made without hearing her.

However, Hashmath Pasha, an advocate and court-appointed amicus curiae, pointed out to the Bench that remarks were made after perusing the materials, including the remand report.

He also submitted that Ms. Gowramma had pledged certain jewels, which were given to her temporary custody by the Lokayukta police after seizing them in a disproportionate assets case pending against her. The money secured by pledging jewels were allegedly used to pay the hired killers, he pointed out.

Following these submissions, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna refused to entertain her plea while observing that an “innocuous plea” has been made after six months. The Bench also expressed confidence that the trial court would proceed on the basis of the evidence on record rather than remarks made by the High Court.

Lingaraju was murdered in November 2012.

Spell out stand

In another case, the Bench asked the State government to spell out its stand by June 26 whether the financial bids, invited by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for executing road works in Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda layout, will be pursued or not.

The Bench was hearing a PIL petition, in which it was alleged that road works with expenditure of crores of rupees were being awarded to private firms when process of land acquisition was not complete. The petition had also alleged that the BDA had inflated the package estimated at Rs. 991 crore to nearly Rs. 2,200 crore after negotiation with bidders while accusing the BDA of misusing the public fund.