Court Finds Jailed Underworld Don Guilty In BJP Leader’s Murder Case

Bengaluru:  The Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) Special Court on Wednesday found jailed underworld don Bannanje Raja, and eight others guilty in connection with the death of BJP leader and industrialist R.N. Nayak who was killed in a shootout in December 2013, officials said.

The shootout had taken place on December 21, 2013, in Ankola of Uttara Kannada district. It was the first case to registered under KCOCA Act in the state.

Rajendra Shetty a.k.a Bannanje Raja is involved in 44 serious criminal offences including murder, extortion and kidnapping. Authorities had issued an Interpol red corner notice against Bannanje Raja, and he was nabbed in Casablanca in Morocco. Later, he was extradited to Karnataka from there.

Raja, who was named as the 9th accused in the case, was named in several cases in coastal districts of Karnataka, Bengaluru and Maharashtra.

Jagadish Patel from Uttar Pradesh, Abhi Bhandagara from Bengaluru, Ganesh Bhajanthri from Udupi, K.M. Ismail from Kerala, Mahesh Achangi from Hassan, M.B. Santhosh from Kerala, Jagadish Chandraraj from Bengaluru, and Ankit Kumar Kashyap from Uttar Pradesh have also been pronounced guilty in the case.

Special Court judge C.M. Joshi has reserved the order for announcing the quantum of punishment on April 4.

Besides, the court has acquitted some of the accused — Rabdin Pichai, Mohammad Shabandri and Anand Ramesh Nayak, from the case.

Special Public Prosecutor S.B. Puranik Math and Additional Public Prosecutor Shivaprasad Alva have argued against the accused, representing the prosecution.

Alva has stated that through the judgment the court has sent a good message to the society. “The police and prosecution have successfully persuaded the legal action against anti-social elements.”

When asked if he faced any threats since the case involved gangster Bannanje Raja, he said there is no room for it as he has to carry out the responsibilities given by the government.

“This judgment shows that no one is above the law. The law takes its own course. If police and prosecution join hands and pursue the case unitedly, legal action against any criminal element is ensured,” he said.

Raja had made an extortion call and demanded protection money from the deceased Nayak. When he refused to pay the money, Raja planned the shootout.

He had called up media houses and claimed that he had got the murder carried out, embarrassing the state and the central investigation agencies.

Various judges have heard the case for over seven years. More than 210 witnesses have recorded their statements. Prosecutors have presented 1,000 pages of documentary proof.

(IANS)