Gauri Lankesh Murder: Sister Kavita demands case stay with Karnataka SIT

Written by CJP Team | Published on: January 25, 2019

Ms Kavitha Lankesh, sister of slain journalist activist Gauri Lankesh has intervened in the Supreme Court urging that the investigation into her sister’s murder should remain with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed in 2017. The investigations in the case are at an advanced stage and arguments on framing of charge were to be made before the special trial court on Friday January 25. The case has now been adjourned to February 26. The Intervention Application will also be heard then.




Ms Kavitha Lankesh is a nationally and internationally recognized film director and has a Masters in English Literature from the Bangalore University. She is also the younger daughter of Central Sahitya Academy winner P. Lankesh and younger sister of renowned journalist and social activist Gauri Lankesh.

The intervention application number 811/2019 has been filed in Writ Petition (Criminal) Nos 212/2017, filed by the Uma Kalburgi, wife of Kannada academic MM Kalburgi who was similarly gunned down in August 2015, two years before Ms Gauri Lankesh. The petition of the Kalburgi’s has prayed for a Court monitored investigation and not for a clubbing of investigations.
 
The Intervention Application of Ms Kavitha Lankesh may be read here.
 
In her intervention application, Ms Kavitha Lankesh states that she felt the urgent need to file the present Intervention Application as the news reports of the last hearing of the abovementioned Writ Petition filed by Mrs Umadevi Mallinath Kaburgi, the wife of the Late Mr. M.M. Kalburgi on 11.12.2018, reported that the Supreme Court had (orally) expressed an opinion regarding the possible clubbing of investigations of all four murder/assassination investigations and even sought a response of the same from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Ms Gauri Lankesh, the elder sister of the applicant was tragically gunned down in cold blood, on September 5, 2017, outside her home in Rajarajeshwarinagar Bangalore, by extremists and fundamentalists causing shock waves across the nation. Ms Kavitha Lankesh, younger sister of the deceased is the first original complainant in the matter in CR Nos 221/2017 registered with the Rajarajeshwari Nagar Police Station, Bangalore.

Ms Gauri Lankesh’s incident of the cold blood killing of the sister of the Applicant, Ms. Gauri Lankesh took place on September 5, 2017, between 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm, at her residence No. 473/A, 14th Cross, Ideal Homes Extension, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, when some miscreants committed murder of the Press Personnel Gauri Lankesh by shooting her with firearm.

The said incident came under the jurisdiction of Rajarajeshwari Nagar police station of Bangalore City and on the same day an FIR was registered under Sections 302, 120(B), 114, 118, 109, 201, 203, 204, 35 of I.P.C. and Sections 25(1), 25(1B), 27(1) of the Indian Arms Act, 1959 and Sessions 3(1)(i), 3(2), 3(3) and 3(4) of the COCA Act, 2000 ( Order No.C.R.M./01/158/BC/2017-18 dated 06-09-2017 of the  D.G. and I.G.P.) as Crime No. 221/2017.

Ms Kavitha Lankesh argues in her intervention that,  since the case was a very sensitive and of grave nature and was/is likely to impact gravely on all of society, the then Karnataka State Government, D.G. and I.G.P., State of Karnataka, Bangalore, announced the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which was constituted the day after the ghastly incident itself. Since then the Investigation has been carried on by the said SIT.

She further urges that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Inspector General of Police (Karnataka) has been conducting the Investigation with great speed and urgency and moreover the entire Investigation has been committed to a Court though not yet completed.  From January 2018 till date, 16 accused persons have been arrested and incriminating evidences have been unearthed by the SIT. Following this, even the preliminary and subsequent Charge Sheets have been filed.

In this application she makes the point that if, at this advanced stage of the Investigation into the matter of the cold blooded murder of the sister of the Applicant, any change is made or the Investigation is shifted to any other agency, the entire process would be de-railed. It is through the sensitive investigation under the aegis of the SIT that links and connections to the other cases and murders committed before the killing of the applicant’s sister, Gauri Lankesh have been and are being made. Accused hitherto linked and connected to other crimes even outside the killings of the four rationalists along with the applicant’s sister have been unearthed through the investigations of the SIT, Karnataka. If at all therefore any investigations have to be clubbed or transferred it ought to be to this body constituted of the senior echelons of the Karnataka police.
 

Background

Ms Uma Kalburgi, in her petition before the Supreme Court has made the following prayers:-

“a) Issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other Writ, Order or Direction in the nature of Mandamus appointing Independent person retired Judge of Supreme Court or High Court and of directing Respondent No. 2 Government of Karnataka to appoint dedicated Special Investigation Team led by the Additional Director of General of Police, Karnataka, and comprising of expert officers of impeccable credentials to conduct an investigation into the conspiracy and gruesome murder of Professor M. M. Kalburgi on 30/08/2015 and to take all necessary consequential steps/actions pertaining thereto and direction to provide such Team necessary facilities as well as support. The directions also should include reporting to Hon’ble Supreme Court and no change in the team without permission of the Hon’ble Court;

b) Direct the State of Maharashtra and the State of Goa to nominate particular police officer to provide all support and information to Special Investigating Team constituted under prayer-clause (a) immediately and share details of investigation in murder of Dr. Dabholkar and Comrade Pansare;

c) Seek immediate report from all the Respondent States involved and especially from the National Investigation Agency seeking efforts made by them to apprehend the accused named in the said crime and accused involved in Professor Kalburgi murder case along with reports from State of Maharashtra and C.B.I.;

d) Formulate appropriate policy for investigation of inter-state crimes and the support of agency like the N.I.A. and the C.B.I. to various State agencies whenever and wherever it is required. The said policy should mandate appointment of Nodal officer holding rank of Inspector General of Police in every State. The policy should also provide for timeframe for sharing information and coram of meetings;

e) Monitor the investigation to be carried out by the Special Investigation Team sought to be constituted through the present Petition, till the time such investigation is reached to its logical conclusion;

f) During the pendency of the hearing of the present petition, this Hon’ble Court be pleased to direct the Respondent to submit the periodic status report as to the progress made in the investigation in the case of murder of Professor M. Kalburgi”