Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of noted editor activist Gauri Lankesh on Tuesday, invoked the stringent Karnataka Control of Organized Crimes Act (KCOCA), 2000 in the sensational murder case. The murder of the outspoken journalist was a well planned act of “organized crime” involving a syndicate of highly indoctrinated and trained criminals, officials said.
“Today Section 3 of the KCOCA has been invoked and applied to the Gauri Lankesh case – Crime number 221/2017 at Rajarajeshwari police station under Sections 302 (murder), 114, 118 (abetment), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) read with 35 (common intent) of the IPC and Sections 3, 25 of the Indian Arms Act,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Administration M. N. Anuchet, who is also the investigating officer in the Gauri murder case.
The SIT has so far arrested 12 accused from Karnataka and Maharashtra. KCOCA has “special provisions for prevention and control of, and for coping with, criminal activity by organized crime syndicate or gang, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” An offence under the Act leading to death of a person is punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
The State government has already constituted a fast track court under the Act. “The Principal Sessions Court has been designated as the fast track court in the Gauri case. The SIT will get an extended period of 180 days to file the chargesheet before the designated KCOCA court. Further, confessions of accused made before a police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of police shall be made admissible in the trial of such person.
The police can also obtain court permission for custody of the accused for 30 days. In Gauri case the accused have already been remanded in police custody for 15 days. The SIT can request the court for additional 15 days of police custody of the accused,” said an official source. The defence lawyers of the accused can however challenge the invocation of KCOCA in the High Court.
Advocate N.P. Amrutesh, who has been appearing on behalf of some of the accused in the Gauri case, told Deccan Chronicle that they are yet to receive the order copy on KCOCA. The SIT has arrested K.T. Naveen Kumar, Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, Amol Kale, Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep Mahajan, Manohar Dundappa Yadave, Parashuram Waghmore, Mohan Naik, Ganesh Miskin, Amit Baddi, Rajesh D. Bangera, Suresh H.L. and Bharat Kurne in the Gauri murder case.