A forensic report submitted to a Bengaluru court has claimed that the gun used to kill journalist Gauri Lankesh at her home in the city in 2017 was the same as the one that felled Kannada writer MM Kalburgi in his Dharwad home in 2015, The Indian Express reported on Friday. The Karnataka Police’s Special Investigation Team attached the report to the chargesheet it submitted to the additional chief metropolitan magistrate on May 30.

The report’s mention of the 7.65 mm country gun is believed to be the first time a government agency has officially linked the two murders. State Forensic Science Laboratory Assistant Director Kiran Kumar M had handed the report to the chief investigating officer, MN Anucheth, the daily reported.

“The bullets in article no 6, 18 and 19 [the Lankesh case] and the bullets in article no 2 and 3 concerned in Vidyagiri P S Cr No 142/15 vide FAS/150/15 [the Kalburgi case] have been fired through a single country made pistol chambered for 7.65 mm caliber pistol cartridges,” the report states, according to The Indian Express.

On September 14, 2017, preliminary forensic analysis had indicated that the same pistol was used to kill Lankesh and Kalburgi, The Indian Express had reported. In December 2015, the daily had reported that forensic tests on the bullets used to kill writers and rationalists MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar suggested that a common group of assailants was involved.

Cases in court

Kalburgi murder: On May 23, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that it did not want to hand over the inquiry into the Kalburgi murder to the National Investigation Agency. It said the crime was not a “scheduled offence” under the NIA Act. 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.

No arrests have been made yet.

Lankesh murder: The Special Investigation Team’s chargesheet had said the accused killed her for her “anti-Hindu views”, The Hindu reported. The Special Investigation Team did not accuse any organisation of involvement in Lankesh’s murder, but said that the main accused Naveen Kumar was part of a bigger conspiracy.

The police have arrested four other accused besides Kumar.