Three years after Kannada scholar Malleshappa Madiwalappa Kalburgi (77), former vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi, was shot dead at his Kalyan Nagar residence in Dharwad, the Criminal Investigation Department probing the case has made little headway.
The investigating agency had said the pattern of killing in Kalburgi’s case had striking similarities with the killings of two other rationalists from Maharashtra—Narendra Dabholkar (65) and Govind Pansare (84).
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The family members of Kalburgi have moved the Supreme Court seeking its supervision of the case.
On Wednesday, when the writers and activists held a protest meet in Bengaluru to observe the first death anniversary of slain activist Gauri Lankesh (who, too, was shot dead by unidentified assailants outside her residence in Bengaluru), the family members of Kalburgi were conspicuous by their absence, though they had been invited.
The Special Investigation Team probing the murder of Gauri Lankesh has arrested 12 persons. The SIT has claimed to have made major breakthrough in that case, giving hopes to the Kalburgi's family. The probe team suspects that at least three of the accused in Gauri Lankesh case might be involved in Kalburgi's case.
According to SIT sources, Ganesh Miskin and Amit Baddi, arrested from Hubballi, have confessed to have carried out a recce of Kalburgi’s neighbourhood in Dharwad before he was killed. Even the ballistic reports state that the weapon used in the murders of both Gauri Lankesh and Kalburgi could be the same. The SIT also believes both murders were committed by the same gang led by Amol Kale and Amit Degwekar, the key conspirators arrested in Gauri Lankesh case, who are now in judicial custody.
The CID is likely to seek the custody of Miskin, Kale and Baddi for further interrogation, say sources.
The family of the late scholar now hopes that the investigation will speed up.
Says Srivijaya, son of Kalburgi, "Whatever information we are getting in Gauri's case is through the media and nothing from the official sources. We hope the developments will help solve all four cases. Who has done it and who are the masterminds behind it are for the agencies and the courts to prove. In my father's case, we haven't heard of any concrete breakthrough."
The family feels that the apex court monitoring the case would speed up the probe.
"We have been following up with the CID, which is investigating my father's case. But over the last 3-4 months, we have not met them. The only assurance we are getting is that investigation is going on. We are desperately waiting for the result. In January, our family requested the Supreme Court to monitor the case and help us get justice at the earliest. It has been three years now. It is up to the government and the SC to decide which investigating agency can do it better. Looks like there are so many stakes involved in this crime. So, if the case is monitored by the apex court, delays due to bureaucratic hassles would be less."