The wife of Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi, 77, who was murdered at the doorstep of his home in Dharwad, Karnataka, has identified a man presented in a test identification parade as the person who shot her husband on August 30, 2015.
The man identified by Umadevi Kalburgi on Wednesday is Ganesh Miskin, 27, it is learnt.
A Karnataka Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) had earlier identified Miskin, linked to Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha, as one of two people allegedly involved in killing journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru in September 2017.
The slain scholar’s son, Shreevijay Kalburgi, said, “She identified the culprit in the identification parade today. The name of the person who was identified was not disclosed to us.”
Sources in SIT said the individual identified by Umadevi was Miskin, who comes from Hubli region of Karnataka and was arrested last year in connection with the Lankesh murder case.
Miskin was identified in a chargesheet filed by SIT in the Lankesh case on November 23, 2018, as alleged rider of the motorcycle that transported the alleged shooter, Parashuram Waghmore, 26, to the journalist’s residence to execute the killing. He was arrested by Karnataka CID in the Kalburgi case in 2018 after links emerged from the Lankesh probe.
In March this year, the SIT probing the Lankesh case was handed over investigation of the Kalburgi murder case as well on a plea by Umadevi. Among other points, she had stated in her plea that investigations in the Lankesh case had shown that her husband was killed with the same gun.
The SIT took over the probe in May this year and identified Miskin and Praveen Prakash Chatur, 27, from Belagavi as the men who allegedly gunned down Kalburgi in 2015.
On the morning of August 30, 2015, a man had knocked on the door of the Kalburgis’ home while a second man waited on a motorcycle at the gate. When Umadevi opened the door, the man asked for Kalburgi, who was shot down at the doorstep as soon as he emerged.
Following Wednesday’s test identification parade, Miskin has been positively identified as the man who shot Kalburgi, police sources said. Chatur was earlier identified by witnesses who had seen him that day as the rider waiting on a motorcycle.
The SIT probe in Karnataka has revealed that Lankesh, and Kalburgi were killed with the same gun that was used to kill Govind Pansare, 81, a Leftist thinker, in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, in February 2015. A second gun used in the Pansare shooting was earlier used to gun down rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, in Pune in August 2013.
In all, three people charged for involvement in the Lankesh case — Amol Kale, 38, Vasudev Suryavanshi, 30, and Ganesh Miskin — have been found to be involved in the Kalburgi murder as well.
Lankesh was murdered by a group whose key members acted according to principles and guidelines outlined in a book called Kshatra Dharma Sadhana, published by the Hindutva outfit Sanatan Sanstha, the SIT has stated in its chargesheet in the case. “Members of this organisation targeted persons who they identified to be inimical to their belief and ideology,’’ the SIT stated.