The Supreme Court Tuesday directed the murder case of scholar M M Kalburgi to be transferred to the same special investigation team (SIT) that is probing journalist Gauri Lankesh murder case. The probe is to be monitored by the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka High Court, according to news agency ANI.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Kalburgi’s wife Uma Devi seeking a probe by the SIT into his killing. In the previous January 25 hearing, the top court had said, “It’s a very serious case and we will hear it… We are not going to adjourn the case.”
The Supreme Court bench in December 2018 had told the CBI to find out if there was ‘any common thread’ in the alleged murders of Lankesh, activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and Kalburgi so that one agency could investigate all the four cases.
Kalburgi, former Vice-Chancellor of Hampi University, who was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi award in 2006, was killed in Karnataka’s Dharwad in 2015.
The top court had rapped the Karnataka government, saying it was ‘doing nothing’ and failing to conclude its investigation into the August 2015 murder case of the Kannada scholar. The bench had given the state government two weeks in November 2018 to file a status report on the investigation.
After the apex court came down hard on the state government, the CID of the state police reconstituted its probe team with several officers from the SIT that investigated the Gauri Lankesh murder case. The CID also appointed Deputy Superintendent of Police T Rangappa, a key investigator in the Gauri Lankesh probe, as the new investigating officer in Kalburgi case.
Uma Devi alleged that shooters from the same organisation were allegedly involved in all the three murders. Investigations by the SIT had suggested that both, Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh had been killed with the same gun.