The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the plea demanding an SIT probe into the murder of rationalist MM Kalburgi on Friday. The Bench of Justices Nariman and Vineet Saran murder called it a ‘very serious case’ and said that it will hear the plea on February 26 next month. The top court was hearing the petition filed by Kalburgi’s wife Umadevi, who is demanding a fair probe into the murder of her husband. 77-year old Kalburgi, the former Vice-Chancellor of Hampi University and a well-known scholar and 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.
Earlier during a hearing in November last year, the top court had chided the Karnataka government for doing nothing into the rationalist’s murder case. “What have you (Karnataka government) done so far? Nothing. You are just fooling around. How long will you take for completing the investigation? Tell us or we will pass orders,” the Bench of Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha had said.
On March 23 last year, the Centre had told the apex court that the NIA, being a special agency to probe national and inter-state terrorism cases, cannot investigate the killing of MM Kalburgi. The Centre has referred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and said the instant offence did not fall under the category of ‘Schedule offence’ under the law and hence, the probe agency cannot investigate it.
The court had earlier asked the CBI and the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka to file their responses in the case. Kalburgi’s wife, in her petition filed through advocate Krishna Kumar, has alleged that there was common link between the murder of her husband and that of intellectual activists, Narendra Achyut Dabholkar and Govindrao Pansare, who too were assassinated in August 2013 and February 2015 respectively.