Sketches of two suspects who killed noted Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi here on August 30 were on Wednesday released by police, as the state CID began a probe into the murder.
"Yes, we have released sketches of two suspects who killed Kalburgi ... it is uploaded in our website for everyone to see," Hubballi-Dharwad Police Commissioner Pandurang H Rane told PTI here.
Rane said city police had started work on sketches of the suspects, based on their physical description given by witnesses who were questioned.
"Before handing over the case to CID, we were working on sketches of the suspects and today we released them on our website," Rane added.
Asked if the suspects were from outside Karnataka, Rane evaded a direct reply, saying he had assumed charge only on Tuesday. "Moreover the case is being handled by CID and hence I cannot reply to the query."
CID on Tuesday begun its probe and is looking at whether there was a "larger conspiracy" to eliminate the rationalist and progressive thinker.
The Karnataka government had decided to hand over the case to CBI, but CID will investigate the incident till it is taken over by the central agency.
Rane said Superintendent of Police D C Rajappa, who is leading a CID team, had visited Kalburgi's house on Tuesday and interacted with his family members to get preliminary leads to crack the case.
When contacted, Rajappa declined to throw much light on the probe, saying, "I am busy with investigation."
Rane said Maharashtra police had visited Dharwad on August 31 to exchange data and sketches of suspected murderers of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar and veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare at Kolhapur in Maharashtra.
Police sources said that Karnataka police had also visited Maharashtra to collect vital clues, if any.
Both Maharashtra police and Karnataka CID team are trying to ascertain if there is any link between Kalburgi's murder and the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, Rane said.
"Karnataka CID team and Maharashtra police are probing whether the killings of Kalburgi, Dabholkar and Pansare are part of a larger conspiracy to eliminate rationalist and progressive thinkers," Rane said.
Photograph: The sketch of the 2 assassins in the MM Kalburgi murder case. Photograph: ANI/Twitter