On June 6, Amol Kale and Praveen Prakash were presented in a court in Dharwad by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating into the case M M Kalburgi’s assassination. A renowned historian and scholar of vachana literature, Kalburgi was shot dead at his residence on August 30, 2015, by two unidentified men. Yesterday in the court both Kale and Prakash said that the police had made them sign on blank papers. The presiding judge, D Mamata said, the court would not interfere in the investigation process but the concern of the court is whether the accused are subjected to mental or physical torture by the police. Both the accused however, refused that any such treatment was meted by the police.
The case was initially handled by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Karnataka. Four years later, the Supreme Court on February 26, 2019, ordered the transfer of the investigation to the same SIT that is looking into the case of assassination of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh. A bench of Justices Rohinton F. Nariman and Vineet Saran had directed the Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court to monitor the SIT investigation.
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As NewsClick had reported, while interrogating Ganesh Miskin, a member of Hindu extremist group Sri Rama Sene, who was arrested in July on the suspicion of being the rider of the motorcycle with Gauri Lankesh's assassin in the pillion, the SIT learnt that his recruiter, Amol Kale - the former convenor of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) – is also the murderer of the Kannada scholar and rationalist, M. M. Kalburgi.
According to many media reports, it was to carry out covert operations for Sanatan Sanstha (SS) that Kale had recruited Ganesh Miskin three years ago, along with Parashuram Waghmare.Waghmare is a former Sri Rama Sene activist and was also suspected as the shooter of Gauri Lankesh. The SIT has also reportedly learnt that Kale was ordered to carry out Kalburgi's assassination by a person named 'Kaka' alias Shankar Narayan. It was Narayan’s right hand man - associated with one of the Hindutva outfits in Maharashtra - who drew the plans for Gauri Lankesh’s assassination.
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The SIT investigating into the case of Lankesh has so far been able to track the conspiracy behind the killings of the rationalist-activist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Kalburgi, Lankesh and activist Govind Pansare. As NewsClick has reported earlier, the SIT has also brought into light a larger conspiracy of a Hindutva terrorist organisation, Sanatan Sanstha (SS) against all those who have been actively dissenting against the functioning of Hindutva organisations. Going through the developments in the investigations into these cases so far, it is very clear that all the cases are interrelated. In fact, Nariman had also suggested handing over all the four cases to a SIT and directing a High Court to look over the proceedings. However, according to a report by The Hindu, this was objected by Karnataka’s Additional Advocate General Devadutt Kamat, saying that there already existed one SIT investigating Lankesh’s case and it wouldn’t make sense to transfer Lankesh and Kalrburgi’s cases to a Maharashtra SIT.
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