The Karnataka government has decided to hand over to CBI the probe into the murder of noted Kannada progressive thinker and scholar MM Kalburgi even as his body was laid to rest with full state honours.
The state cabinet took the decision to refer the case to the central agency, a day after the 77-year-old vocal and outspoken rationalist fell to the bullets of two unidentified men at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka, considered the state's cultural capital.
"We have decided along with handing over the case to CID, also to refer it to CBI," law and parliamentary affairs minister TB Jayachandra told reporters in Bengaluru after a cabinet meeting.
"CID will immediately start the investigation, we will also write to CBI. CBI can take over any time...," he said hours after chief minister Siddaramaiah had announced that the murder case would be probed by CID.
Holding that there were no proper updates from CBI on cases handed over to it earlier by the state government, Jayachandra said, "In such cases, we will have to work immediately, we cannot wait for CBI. For immediate action CID will probing."
"There are some doubts and smell that is emerging, so investigation has to start immediately," he added.
Siddaramaiah had earlier said, "We have decided to hand over the case to CID...This incident should not have happened. It is highly condemnable. Whoever is behind this, we will catch them and punish according to law," said the chief minister, who visited Dharwad to pay last respects to Kalburgi.
Home minister KJ George said, "It will be investigated from all angles."
As the murder shook the Kannada literary world, Dharwad saw hundreds of admirers, students and citizens pay their last respect to Kalburgi before his body was taken in a procession, with many litterateurs and religious and political leaders paying homage.
The body was laid to rest with state honours in Dharwad as per the custom of the Lingayat community.