The Supreme Court on Friday noted that the murder of Kannada writer MM Kalburgi and the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh and activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare were part of a “very serious case” and refused to give the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments any room for adjournment, The Hindu reported.

The court said it would hear the petition filed by MM Kalburgi’s wife Umadevi Kalburgi, who has sought a Special Investigation Team inquiry into her husband’s death, in detail on February 26. Justices Rohinton Nariman and Vineet Saran asked the state governments to complete their pleadings in the case and “be ready”.

During a previous hearing on December 11, a bench of the top court led by Justice UU Lalit had said after perusing a status report submitted by the Karnataka Police that the murders of Lankesh and Kalburgi appeared to be linked. The court had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to explain to it by the first week of January why it should not investigate all the four cases if all the murders were connected.

Kalburgi, a Kendriya Sahitya Akademi awardee and anti-superstition activist, was shot dead at his home in Dharwad district on August 30, 2015. According to Umadevi Kalburgi, the people behind the murders of Pansare on February 16, 2015, in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, and the killing of Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, in Pune had killed her husband.

In September 2015, Pansare’s murder was linked to Hindutva outfit Sanatan Sanstha, when the police arrested one of its members, Sameer Gaikwad, in connection with the case. A forensic report submitted by the investigators to a Bengaluru court earlier had said the same gun was used to kill Kalburgi and Lankesh, who was shot dead in September 2017.