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Recently, The Karnataka High Court recently refused to quash criminal proceedings against NR Santhosh, political secretary to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, in a case of attempting to kidnap the advisor of BJP leader and current Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa, when Eshwarappa was serving as Leader of Opposition.
Vinay, the complainant had told the court that Santhosh engaged nine persons to kidnap him to secure a CD, a pen drive and other materials.
Justice HP Sandesh, while dismissing the petition filed by Santhosh, referred to the decision, Gulam Sarbar vs State of Bihar, wherein the Supreme Court had observed that as criminal conspiracy is generally hatched in secrecy, it is difficult to obtain direct evidence. The offence can be proved by adducing circumstantial evidence or by necessary implication, the Supreme Court had said.
Placing reliance on the same, the High Court ruled that the matter needs trial since conspiracy has to be proved by collecting circumstantial evidence.
"Hence, it is clear that even though there was no direct evidence when the criminal conspiracy is alleged against this petitioner (Santosh), it is settled law that the same is generally hatched in secrecy and direct evidence is difficult to obtain or access. The criminal conspiracy has to be proved by collecting the material through the circumstantial evidence. Hence, it requires trial," the Court ruled.
On May 11, 2017, at around 4 pm, some miscreants attempted to kidnap Vinay in a car. When he raised an alarm, the miscreants pushed him out of the car and fled.
Subsequently, a case was registered after which, the police filed the charge sheet, for the offences punishable under Sections 143, 147, 323, 324, 365, 511, 331, 120B read with Section 149. When matter came up to the Sessions Court, the charge sheet named Santhosh as accused number one in the case.
Aggrieved by this, Santhosh filed a criminal petition before the Court seeking to quash the chargesheet and pending proceedings before the sessions court.
The counsel representing Santhosh contended that there is no material that he was involved in the offence and the trial court had issued the summons without application of mind.
Appearing before the court as party-in-person, Vinay argued that there was sufficient material to show that Santhosh had engaged the other accused to kidnap him. He said the alleged attempt to kidnap him was to secure a CD, a pen drive, laptop, and screenshots of a chat between them.
At the time of the incident, Santhosh was working as a private secretary to Yediyurappa, the Bench was told. He further alleged that Yediyurappa had written a letter to the investigating officer to refrain from taking any action against Santhosh.
Accused number three in the case Prashanth, who was a rowdy-sheeter, died under mysterious circumstances when Santhosh’s involvement surfaced, added Vinay.
After going through the rival submissions, the Bench opined that the petitioner's contention that the trial court had not applied its mind while issuing summons cannot be accepted.
"In the case on hand, the learned Magistrate has applied his mind and the order reflects specifically what are the offences are applicable thereto. He recorded his satisfaction with regard to the existence of prima facie case on the basis of specific allegations made in the charge sheet and also it is specific that he has perused the charge sheet, its enclosures and also other materials on record. When such being the case, the very contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the learned Magistrate has not applied his mind, cannot be accepted."