SC To Hear Plea For CBI Probe In Kalburgi Murder Case On Feb 26

SC To Hear Plea For CBI Probe In Kalburgi Murder Case On Feb 26

With a plea seeking a CBI probe into the murder of rationalist M M Kalburgi, the Supreme Court on Friday termed it a "very serious case" and said that it would hear the matter in detail on February 26.

Noted scholar Kalburgi, 77, was killed at Dharwad in 2015.

A bench of justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran said that no parties will be given any adjournment.

"This is a very serious case. We would like to hear the matter in detail. Meanwhile pleadings to be completed. List the matter on February 26," the bench said.

The bench asked the petitioner's counsel to file their counter to the affidavit submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and other respondents.

Advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing for the Karnataka government, said that they have filed their reply as directed by the court in its earlier order.

On December 11, last year, the apex court had favoured a CBI probe into the murders of Kalburgi, social activist Govind Pansare and journalist Gauri Lankesh if there appeared a "common thread" in these incidents.

The murders of all three activists occurred over the last five years.

The top court had asked the CBI to inform it by January first week whether it would like to investigate these three murder cases as it is already probing the murder of social activist Narendra Dabholkar.

The CBI had filed its response in a sealed cover.

Karnataka police in its status report had told the top court that there appears to be an "intimate connection" between the murders of Kalburgi in 2015 and Gauri Lankesh in 2017.

The court had observed that one probe agency should investigate all the four cases, if prima facie it appears that there is a "common thread" in the murders.

The Karnataka government had said that the Kalburgi case has some intimate connections with the Gauri Lankesh murder case and key conspirators were identified and certain recoveries have also been made.

Activist Govind Pansare was also killed in 2015. Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017 in Bengaluru, whereas rationalist Narendra Dabholkar whose case was already probed by CBI was assassinated on August 20, 2013.

The top court had on November 26 pulled up the Karnataka government for "doing nothing and just fooling around" in the investigation and had indicated that it may transfer the case to the Bombay High Court.

The apex court had on January 10 sought the response of probe agencies NIA and CBI and the two state governments on the allegation of Uma Devi that no substantial investigation has been carried out so far in the murder case.

Kalburgi's wife, in her petition, had alleged that there was acommon link between the murder of her husband and that of activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

Kalburgi, former vice chancellor of Hampi University and a well-known epigraphist, was shot dead in broad daylight at his residence in Kalyan Nagar in Dharwad, Karnataka, on August 30, 2015.

Born in 1938, he was a Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer of old Kannada literature.