Mangaluru: A local court on Monday acquitted Pramod Muthalik, the chief of right-wing fringe outfit Sri Ram Sene, and several others in the 2009 Mangaluru pub attack case for lack of evidence.
Judicial first-class magistrate R Manjunath stated in his order, "The accused are acquitted."
Over 30 Sri Ram Sene activists had allegedly barged into the pub on January 24, 2009, and assaulted some women and men, claiming they were violating traditional Indian values.
The incident had generated national outrage after the video clip of the attack went viral.
It depicted several men allegedly dragging women at the pub by their hair, slapping and roughing them up and accusing them of "loose morals".
Counsel for the accused, Vinod, had earlier submitted before the magistrate that his clients were not present when the attack took place at the pub.
He had also submitted that the police had falsely filed complaints against them.
The petition was filed by one Rajshekhar, seeking punishment against the accused under several IPC sections, including rioting, house trespass, dacoity, causing hurt, intentional insult with an intent to provoke breach of peace, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy.
Vinod had also submitted that the victim, one of the allegedly assaulted women, did not visit the police station as a witness to establish the crime.
Speaking to PTI over phone, Muthalik said "Through this verdict, we have got justice. It is a victory of truth. It is also a fitting reply for those who had termed my activists as Talibanis."
"We did not have any intention to beat up women, but we are against the bar and pub culture. It is because of our efforts that many illegal pubs and bars have been closed," he said.
The BJP, in 2014, months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, had inducted Muthalik, but within hours disowned him after the party's central leadership expressed surprise at the decision of its Karnataka unit.