Probe Finds Significant Similarities in Gauri Lankesh and M.M. Kalburgi Murders

An official said that the information goes beyond the make of the weapon used for the murders.

New Delhi: The probe into the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has found similarities in the “mechanics of the crime’’ with the murder of rationalist thinker M.M. Kalburgi. Kalburgi was killed on August 20, 2015, in Dharwad, Karnataka.

According to the Indian Express, multiple officials familiar with the probe have said that a “significant finding” suggested that there was indeed a clear link between the murders, though they did not reveal further details. An official did say that the information goes beyond the make of the weapon used for the murders. The final ballistics and forensics are still awaited and the investigation in terms of tracking down the killers is still very much open, they added.

Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy had announced on Saturday that the probe into Lankesh’s assassination had yielded important clues. Senior police officials were quoted by the Indian Express as saying that they are “very sure” there is a link between the two murders.

Kalburgi was killed at 8:40 am when two men arrived at his house on a motorcycle, knocked on his door, and shot him when he opened it. This is very similar to what happened to Lankesh, though her murder was at night. A 7.65 mm countrymade pistol was used for both murders, as well as the murders of Narendra Dabholkar (killed in Kolhapur, Maharashtra) and Govind Pansare (killed in Pune).

Deccan Chronicle had reported earlier that Criminal Investigation Department investigating Kalburgi’s murder was sharing information “seamlessly” with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) looking into Lankesh’s killing. “The two agencies are trying to detect if there is a pattern in the two sensational killings. The investigation is at a preliminary stage. There are some similarities in the two cases, which are being looked into. It is also possible that while detecting one case, the other agency may get strong leads in their case,” the newspaper had quoted an officer as saying.

Investigations by the CBI into the Dabholkar murder and a Maharashtra SIT probe into the murder of Pansare found links to the radical right-wing group Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, affiliated to the Sanatan Sanstha. However, the shooters are yet to be identified in both cases.