The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it did not want to hand over the inquiry into the murder of scholar MM Kalburgi to the National Investigation Agency. It said the crime was not a “scheduled offence” under the NIA Act.

At the hearing, the Supreme Court gave the governments of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra four weeks to file affidavits in connection with the case.

A former vice chancellor of Kannada University, Kalburgi was a progressive thinker openly critical of superstitions in Hinduism. Hindutva groups often accused him of hurting religious sentiments. Two unidentified gunmen shot him dead at his house in Dharwad in Karnataka on August 30, 2015.

On January 10, the Supreme Court had sought a reply from the Centre after Kalburgi’s wife Uma Devi Kalburgi filed a petition demanding an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team into her husband’s murder. She had submitted that no agency had carried out a substantial investigation into the case and also claimed that the murders of Kalburgi and Maharashtra-based rationalist Narendra Dabholkar had similar patterns. The court had also sought a response from the NIA and Central Bureau of Investigation.