The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that if there is a “common thread” among the murders of social activists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, journalist Gauri Lankesh and rationalist M M Kalburgi, then one agency can investigate all the four cases.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Navin Sinha asked the CBI to inform it by January first week as to why it should not investigate all the four cases if there appears a link among all the murders.
The counsel for the Maharashtra government informed the court that the CBI is investigating the murder cases of social activist and professor Narendra Dabholkar after the Bombay High Court transferred the probes to the agency.
The court, after perusing the status report of the Karnataka Police, said there appears to be a link between the murders of journalist Gauri Lankesh and rationalist M M Kalburgi.
It asked the Maharashtra government’s counsel about the status of the investigation into the Pansare murder case, to which the counsel said the case was pending before the Kohlapur trial court.
Earlier in the day, the Karnataka Police had informed the apex court that there appears to be a connection between Lankesh and Kalburgi murder cases.
The state police also told the apex court that it will file a chargesheet in the Kalburgi murder case in three months.
Noted scholar Kalburgi was killed at Dharwad in 2015. Pansare was also killed the same year. Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017 in Bengaluru, whereas rationalist Dabholkar was assassinated on August 20, 2013.
The top court on November 26 had pulled up the Karnataka government for “doing nothing and just fooling around” in the investigation and had indicated that it may transfer the case to the Bombay High Court.
The top court had on January 10 sought the response of probe agencies NIA and CBI and the two state governments on the allegation of Uma Devi that no substantial investigation has been carried out so far in the murder case.
Kalburgi’s wife, in her petition, had alleged that there was common link between the murder of her husband and that of activists Narendra Achyut Dabholkar and Govindrao Pansare, who too were assassinated in August 2013 and February 2015 respectively.
The 77-year old Kalburgi, the former vice chancellor of Hampi University and a well-known epigraphist, was shot dead in broad daylight at his residence in Kalyan Nagar in Dharwad, Karnataka, on August 30, 2015. Born in 1938, he was a Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer of old Kannada literature.