Vinay Kulkarni is Accused No 1 in Goudar murder

Filing a supplementary charge-sheet on Tuesday in connection with the murder of zilla panchayat member Yogeeshgouda Goudar, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named Congress leader and former Minister Vinay Kulkarni as Accused No 1.

In the supplementary charge-sheet filed in the CBI Special Court in Dharwad on Tuesday, Vinay Kulkarni’s uncle Chandrashekhar Indi alias Chandu Mama of Indi has been named Accused No 2 and Shivanand Biradar Accused No 3.

According to CBI officials, investigation revealed that the former Minister conspired with his associates and executed the murder with the help of one of his associates.

According to the charge-sheet, an associate of the accused (Vinay Kulkarni) arranged for the other accused to come from Bengaluru and they visited Dharwad on two occasions. On the first occasion, they stayed in a resort at Dandeli and committed the crime in their second attempt and fled after committing the crime.

Yogeeshgouda Goudar, an aide-turned-foe of Vinay Kulkarni and a zilla panchayat member of the BJP from Hebballi constituency, was murdered by an armed gang at his gym in Saptapur in Dharwad on June 15, 2016.

The Dharwad Police subsequently arrested six persons,.Basavaraj Mutagi, Vikram Ballari, Keerthi Kumar, Sandeep Savadatti, Vinayak Katagi and Mahabaleshwar Hongal alias Muduka from Dharwad, and charge-sheeted them for the murder.

However, Gurunath Goudar, brother of Yogeeshgouda Goudar supported by BJP leaders, demanded CBI investigation in the case which was finally fulfilled after the BJP-led government came to power in the State.

The CBI, which took over the investigation on September 24, 2019, identified and arrested eight other accused and filed charge-sheet on May 20, 2020. Santosh Savadatti of Dharwad, Dinesh M., Sunil K.S., Harshith, Aswath S., Nazeer Ahamad, Shanawaz and Nutan S.. all various other places, were named as accused in the first charge-sheet.

Vinay Kulkarni was arrested on November 5, 2020 and has been in judicial custody in the Hindalga Jail of Belagavi. Vinay Kulkarni’s bail plea has been rejected twice, first by a lower court and then by the High Court.

The CBI has to produce Vinay Kulkarni before the CBI Special Court on February 5 as his judicial custody ends on that day. Meanwhile, CBI sleuths have continued further investigation in the case.

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