Karnataka Police Did Nothing, Top Court's Rebuke In MM Kalburgi Murder

MM Kalburgi's wife had approached the top court in January claiming there was a link between the murder of her husband and that of activists Narendra Achyut Dabholkar and Govindrao Pansare

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Karnataka Police Did Nothing, Top Court's Rebuke In MM Kalburgi Murder

MM Kalburgi was shot dead at his home in Kalyan Nagar in August 2015.


New Delhi: 

Over three years after rationalist MM Kalburgi was shot dead outside his home in Dharwad, his killers are yet to be identified and arrested. The Supreme Court today pulled up the Karnataka government and said "nothing has been done by the Karnataka police" in the case.

The top court has asked for the status report and the Karnataka police have two weeks to submit it.

"What have you (Karnataka government) done so far? Nothing. You are just fooling around. How long will you take to complete the investigation? Tell us or we will pass orders," the bench said while hearing a plea by Dr Kalburgi's wife.

Uma Devi petitioned in the Supreme Court asking for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate her husband's murder. The bench said it may transfer the petition to the Bombay High Court to monitor the probe.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Hampi University, MM Kalburgi, 77, was shot dead at his home in Kalyan Nagar. Dr Kalburgi, a Sahitya Academy award winning writer, scholar, academician and researcher, was on the radar of right-wing groups for his writings and speeches, which were seen as anti-Hindu. He had reportedly received threats to his life, but he had never taken them seriously.

Several Kannada writers had returned their awards to the Kannada Sahitya Parishat to protest his murder.

As public anger grew over his death, former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah assured his family that he will personally monitor the probe and directed the officials to fast track the probe.

Uma Devi had approached the top court in January claiming there was a link between the murder of her husband and that of activists Narendra Achyut Dabholkar and Govindrao Pansare. In her petition, she told the Supreme Court she wasn't not satisfied with the probe being done by the state police and wanted a special team to investigate.

In August 2013, activist Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune while he was out for a morning walk. Social activist and veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare was shot dead in similar circumstances in Kolhapur. The murders are yet to be solved.

The top court issued notices to Karnataka, centre and the National Investigative Agency (NIA) to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the murder.

The Centre had earlier told the Supreme Court that the NIA, being a special agency to probe national and inter-state terrorism cases, can't investigate the murder of MM Kalburgi.

While the Karnataka police were still trying to track Dr Kalburgi's killers, journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was killed in a similar fashion. The 55-year-old thinker was shot dead near her residence in Bengaluru's Rajarajeshwari Nagar on September 5 last year.

Investigators have suggested that there is a pattern in the killings of Mr Dabholkar, Mr Pansare and Gauri Lankesh and forensic reports confirm similar weapons were used and shootings were carried out by hit squads on motorcycles.

Two of the 18 accused in Gauri Lankesh's murder, Ganesh Miskin and Amit Baddi, were questioned in Dr Kalburgi's by the Karnataka CID.

Miskin had ferried the killer to Mr Kalburgi's home while Amit provided logistic support, the CID alleged. The Karnataka CID also alleged, based on forensic report, that the same country-made pistol was used in Dr Kalburgi and Mr Pansare's murders.

Last week, the team probing Gauri Lankesh's murder has named Hindu right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha in its additional charge sheet. The charges have been dismissed by the Goa-based outfit. It has threatened to sue anybody who "maligns the name of the organisation" without proof.

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