Court Bars Congress Candidate, Accused of Murder, from Entering Dharwad Where He Is Contesting Polls

A special court here on Tuesday rejected Congress leader Vinay Kulkarni’s request to enter Dharwad, from where he is the party’s candidate for the May 10 Assembly polls in Karnataka, over stipulations laid down by the Supreme Court barring his presence in the district.

Kulkarni, an accused in the murder of BJP leader Yogesh Gowda in 2016, was granted bail by the apex court on the condition that he would not be allowed to enter Dharwad district.

The Additional City Civil and Session Court, Special Court for People’s Representatives, had completed hearing on his plea to enter Dharwad on Monday, and announced its judgment today.

The counsel for the CBI had argued before Judge B Jayant Kumar against allowing Kulkarni entry into Dharwad citing that 90 witnesses in the murder case were residing in the city and the presence of the accused there would be detrimental to the case.

Since he was an influential person, he may pressure the witnesses. The court was told that it was not possible to provide security to all the witnesses.

One of the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court in its order granting bail to Kulkarni on August 11, 2021 was the restriction on his entry to Dharwad.

The CBI counsel had also submitted that there was provision for filing of nomination for the election through a representative and his presence was not required. Incidentally, the nomination on behalf of Kulkarni was filed in Dharwad on Tuesday.

Senior counsel C H Hanumantaraya had appeared for Kulkarni before the special court and argued that either the CBI or the local police could provide security to the witnesses if there was apprehension that the Congress leader may influence them.

Kulkarni had also claimed that he owned 1,200 cattle and 2,400 goats and his wife and children were finding it difficult to maintain them on their own.

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