Karnataka: Wife, son & priest get life for NRI businessman’s murder in 2016 | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Though the prosecution sought capital punishment because of the ‘brutality’ with which Shetty was murdered and his body was disposed of in a religious fireplace and a river, the principal district and sessions court awarded life term to Rajeshwari Shetty, 55, their son Navaneeth Shetty, 26, and priest Niranjan Bhat, 30.
Shetty, from Indrali in Udupi, owned seven supermarkets in Saudi Arabia, a hotel, commercial complex and an apartment cluster in Udupi and a residential building in Manipal. Police said the convicts allegedly murdered then 52-year-old businessman on July 28, 2016 and burnt his body in a homa kunda (fireplace where homa is performed) at the astrologer’s residence in Udupi. Shetty’s bones were recovered from the Kalka river in Nandalike, Udupi, on August 10, 2016.
Police sources said Bhaskar Shetty was going through a rough patch with his wife allegedly having a relationship with the priest.
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The son, Navaneeth, was demanding transfer of all properties in his name. Shetty, according to sources, had reportedly confided this in his mother, besides sharing alleged photographic evidence of his wife’s friendship with the priest.
In a 296-page judgment, sessions judge JN Subramanya said the three convicts have been sent to life imprisonment based on a chain of circumstantial evidence, exhibits, material objects and witnesses, and recovery of bones of the deceased from the river. Besides, the prosecution’s argument that failure of Shetty’s wife and son in filing a missing-person complaint also led to the conviction.
Police launched investigations based on a complaint filed by Shetty’s mother Gulabi on July 29, 2016, that she tried to get in touch with her son over phone and there was no response from him. There were two more accused in the case: Priest Bhat’s father Srinivas, 60, who died during trial last year, and their driver Raghavendra, 32, who has been acquitted in the case.
Navaneet and Niranjan Bhat
Special public prosecutor M Shantharam Shetty said he had argued for awarding of capital punishment to the accused. The court examined 78 witnesses, 270 exhibits and documents and 131 material objects during the trial. Shashikanth Shetty, advocate for Bhaskar Shetty’s 81-yearold mother Gulabi, called the punishment ‘prudent’ and said she was happy that “justice had been served” for her son. An advocate for the accused said they will appeal against the verdict in a higher court.