Congress leader and former Minister Vinay Kulkarni has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by the Second Additional District Court after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not seek further extension of custody in the case of the murder of zilla panchayat member Yogeeshgouda Goudar.
As the three-day CBI custody ended on Monday, Mr. Kulkarni was supposed to be produced before the Second Additional District and Sessions Court, which also functions as the CBI special court by noon. However, after reviewing the security issues and considering the large gathering outside the court premises in Dharwad, the accused was produced before the court through videoconference facility.
As the CBI did not seek police custody and sought judicial custody of the accused, judge Panchakashari M. remanded the former Minister in judicial custody for 14 days. For security reasons, Mr. Kulkarni will be lodged at Hindalga jail in Belagavi, where he was lodged earlier before being brought to the CAR premises in Hubballi for further questioning.
CBI prosecutor K. Sudershan informed the court that the accused had not consented to a polygraph test.
Earlier in the day, as a large number of followers of Mr. Kulkarni had gathered near the district court premises, the police tightened security with the deployment of additional personnel. Similar security arrangements were also made outside the CAR premises.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Mr. Kulkarni’s arrest, Lingayat seers held a meeting at Gadag Tontadarya Mutt on Sunday to discuss the issue. At the meeting, chaired by Sri Siddarama Swami of Gadag Tontadarya Mutt, Sri Basava Jaya Mrutyunjaya Swami of Koodalasangama Peetha, Sri Nijaguna Tondarya Swami of Mundaragi, and Sri Mallikarjun Swami of Murugha Mutt, Dharwad, participated.
Sri Siddarama Swami told presspersons that both Mr. Kulkarni and the zilla panchayat member who was murdered were Lingayats. “The CBI has begun investigation and we have high regard and faith in the judicial system. We hope the CBI will conduct the investigation without any prejudice against anyone,” he said.
Meanwhile, accusations continued to be made of political vendetta pertaining to the case, and Dharwad district in-charge Minister Jagadish Shettar took exception to them. “If anyone has any objection pertaining to the CBI inquiry, they should question it in court instead of issuing statements on the streets,” he said.
Regarding the statements of the Lingayat seers, he said that the investigating agencies and the court would do their job. In such cases, politics and religion should not be brought in, he said.