NIA Can’t Be Asked To Probe Kalburgi Murder: Centre To SC

NIA Can’t Be Asked To Probe Kalburgi Murder: Centre To SC

National Investigation Agency is a designated agency for probing only national and inter-state terrorism cases and shall not be asked to probe the murder of scholar and rationalist M M Kalburgi in 2015 at Karnataka’s Dharwad, the Centre told the Supreme Court today.

It is to be noted that on January 10, acting on a petition filed by Kalburgi's wife Umadevi Kalburgi, the Supreme Court had issued notice to the Centre, the states of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka and probe agencies — the CBI and the NIA –

She sought “dedicated” Special Investigation Team under the supervision of a retired apex court or high court judge to probe the “conspiracy and gruesome murder” of the eminent Kannada writer.

Referring to the NIA Act, ASG Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre today said: "the instant offence did not fall under the category of Schedule offence under the law and hence, the probe agency cannot investigate it".

But the bench adjourned the matter for detailed hearing in the first week of July.

In the meantime Maharashtra, CBI and Karnataka have been asked to file their responses. “We will hear the matter in July. In the meantime let pleadings be completed”, said Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

 The bench also comprised of justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

Prof Kalburgi was shot dead on August 30, 2015, at his residence in Kalyan Nagar by unknown assailants.

Umadevi Kalburgi has told the court in the petition that there has been no progress in the investigation.

Emphasising that Prof Kalburgi was pressing for anti-superstition law in Karnataka, his wife cited the case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, who was also spearheading anti-superstition agitation in Maharashtra and was murdered in Pune in 2013, followed by attack on advocate-social activist Comrade Govindrao Pansare who was shot at in Kolhapur in Maharashtra, leading to his death in February 2015.

In both these cases, the Bombay High Court started calling for periodic investigation reports from the probe agencies since their families were not satisfied with the manner in which the probe was being conducted.

Kalburgi also relied on the statement of the Karnataka Home Minister that there is conclusive evidence of link between the murder of Prof Kalburgi and that of Dabholkar and Pansare, as the ballistic reports reveal the weapons used in the three crimes were the same.