Slain rationalist’s wife’s petition asks for special investigating team; writ to be heard Jan 10.
Umadevi Kalburgi, wife of professor MM Kalburgi, who was killed in August 2015 by unknown assailants, has approached the Supreme Court demanding an independent team under the supervision of a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge to conduct an investigation into his murder. Her writ petition states that there is no coordination between the four investigating agencies that are currently handling the case. The petition is scheduled to be heard on January 10 by the Chief Justice of India justice Dipak Mishra. Umadevi’s petition is the first one to be filed before the Supreme Court in the matter of the Kannada writer and rationalist’s murder.
The murder is being investigated by Karnataka CID, National Investigating Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Maharashtra Police. There has been no progress in the investigation till date.
Kalburgi’s murder was preceded by another murder, that of rationalist Govind Pansare, in Kolhapur, on February 16, 2015. Pansare, who was shot at while he was out on his morning walk, died on February 20. His murder is investigated by a special team headed by an additional director general of police. Two years before Kalburgi’s and Pansare’s murders, anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013. The investigation into the murder was transferred to the CBI under the supervision of the Bombay High Court, after Dabholkar’s and Pansare’s families expressed their dissatisfaction at the progress of the investigation conducted by the Maharashtra Police.
Umadevi’s petition, which was drafted by Advocate Abhay Nevagi, states that, “During the hearing of the above petition, the link between murders of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi was established beyond doubt. It appears that two weapons were used in all the three murders. There has been a serious lapse in apprehending any culprits or even persons who may lead investigators to the culprits.” (The CBI has arrested and filed a charge sheet against Sanantan Sanstha member Dr Virendra Tawde in the Dabholkar murder case, and he has been also charge sheeted in the Pansare murder case.)
In its prayer, it demands the appointment of “a dedicated special investigation team led by the ADG of Police, Karnataka, and comprising of expert officers of impeccable credentials… The direction also should include reporting to the SC and no change in the team without permission of the SC.”
The petition also requests the court to “direct the State of Maharashtra and the State of Goa to nominate particular police officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police as a nodal officer to provide all support and information to the special investigating team constituted as per the prayers. (And) Seek immediate reports from all the respondent states involved and especially from the NIA, along with reports from State of Maharashtra and CBI.”