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Murdered Kannada scholar, rationalist and literary researcher M M Kalburgi had forced Kannada and Culture Department of the state government to withdraw the services of a woman officer from a literary trust he was heading in Belgaum earlier this year, sources in the CID said.
In April this year, Kalburgi stepped down as the head of Basavraj Kattimani Trust, which he set up on May 20, 2012, with nearly Rs 2 crore funding to revive the literary works of litterateur and journalist Basavraj Kattimani of Belgaum, following protests against him over the woman officer’s removal.
CID sources said the rancour and bad blood between Kalburgi and Vidyavati Bajantri, 33, has emerged as a serious angle of investigation into the murder case. Kalburgi was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen at his residence in Dharwad on August 30.
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On Friday, officials from the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department (CID) questioned at length the woman and her friend Ananth Byakod, the state president of Karnataka Yuva Vedike.
Sources in the police said the conflict between Kalburgi and the woman officer, appointed as de facto member secretary by the Karnataka government, has been a subject of investigation over the past few days. The issue, however, came to the forefront on Friday following the emergence of a recording of a telephone conversation between a Belgaum journalist and Kalburgi regarding the circumstances that led to his April 9 exit from the trust. The journalist had recorded the conversation.
In the conversation accessed by The Indian Express, a person answering to the name of Kalburgi is heard telling the journalist that the root cause of his exit from the trust was an assistant director of the Kannada and Culture Department who was the de facto member secretary of the trust.
Sources in Belgaum said the fight between Kalburgi and the officer had been bitter.