The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the CBI if it had come across any “common thread” in the alleged murders of journalist Gauri Lankesh and writer M M Kalburgi in Karnataka, and activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare in Maharashtra.
Making the query, a bench of Justices U U Lalit and Navin Sinha while hearing a plea by Kalburgi’s wife, Umadevi, who is seeking an SIT probe into his death, observed that there were two schools of thoughts related to the four deaths, one of which claimed that the incidents were unconnected. “If so, the state police can go on investigating the matters,” it said.
Justices Lalit, however, asked the CBI if “you established or found any prima facie material that there is a common link? If yes, we will hand over the other cases to you.”
The CBI, which is already probing into Dabholkar’s murder case on the directions of the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, said that if it there indeed was any “common thread”, then “it will be in the fitness that the rest (of the cases) is also (brought) under the same agency”. The CBI counsel, however, said he would take instructions and get back to the court.
Advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar, appearing for the Maharatshtra government, told the court that the Pansare and Dabholkar murder cases were being monitored by the Bombay High Court. He added that a chargesheet had already been filed in a Pune court in the Dabholkar case, while in the other case, five accused had been arrested and the matter was pending trial in Kolhapur.
The court will hear the matter in the first week of January.