The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the murder case of Kannada writer MM Kalburgi be transferred to the same special investigation team that is looking into the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, Live Law reported. A bench of Justices RF Nariman and Vineet Saran said there were similarities between the two murder cases. The investigation will be monitored by the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka High Court.
The court was hearing the petition filed by Kalburgi’s wife Umadevi Kalburgi, who had sought a Special Investigation Team inquiry into his death.
In a hearing last month, the Supreme Court had noted that the murders of Kalburgi, Lankesh and activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare were part of a “very serious case”. The judges had asked the Maharashtra and Karnataka 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 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, he was killed by the same people who were behind the murder of Pansare on February 16, 2015, in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, and that of Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, in Pune.
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.