Bengaluru: Ganesh Miskin, the hitman allegedly involved in the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, had also shot dead litterateur and researcher Dr M.M. Kalburgi on August 30, 2015, stated the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which filed a chargesheet in the case before the district court of Hubballi-Dharwad on Saturday.
The SIT also named five others as accused in the case, Amol Kale aka Bhaisab (37) of Chinchwad in Pune, Praveen Prakash Chatur aka Masalevala (26) of Shahpura in Belagavi, Vasudev Bhagavan Suryavamshi aka Mechanic (29) of Sakali village in Jalgaon, Sharad Kalaskar aka Chhote (25) of Keshapuri village in Aurangabad and Amith Ramachandra Baddi (27) of Rani Chennamma Circle in Hubballi. Miskin aka Xerox (27) was a resident of Chaitanya Nagar in Hubballi.
All the six accused were members of an anonymous organisation and were inspired by 'Kshatra Dharma Sadhana', a book published by Sanatan Sanstha. The radical right wing organisation identified and recruited people with a history of aggression and violence or those with criminal backgrounds.
Leading up to Dr Kalburgi's assassination, the accused trained in firearms in different parts of Karnataka and Maharasthra, and were in constant touch with each other, hatching plots to murder those against the Hindutva ideology. They assumed different nicknames and used mobile phones not registered in their names for their activities, the SIT stated.
Dr Kalburgi became their 'Durjan' (enemy) after he attended a discussion on "Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practice Bill 2013" at Vigyan Bhavan in Bengaluru. They plotted his murder meticulously and executed him at his home in Kalyan Nagar in Dharwad on August 30, 2015.
Between January and May of 2015, the assassination squad met several times at Indira Gandhi Glasshouse in Hubballi. During one such meeting, Amol Kale gave instructions to Vasudev Suryavamshi to steal a two-wheeler, and Vasudev along with Amit Baddi lifted a black and blue Bajaj Discover bike from Hubballi and handed it over to Ganesh Miskin.
Miskin then did a recce of Dr Kalburgi's house and tracked his daily movements. Sometime in August, the month the thinker was assassinated, Kale took Miskin and Praveen Chatur to a rubber plantation at Pilathabettu village in Dakshina Kannada district and gave them country made pistols for target practice. The final touches to the ghastly execution were given in the second week of August 2015.
On the D-Day, on August 30, Kale, Miskin and Chatur again met at Indira Gandhi Glasshouse at 7 am. Kale gave a bag, which had a 7.65MM calibre country-made pistol, to Miskin. Chatur and Miskin then climbed on to the stolen bike and headed towards the house of their target. They knocked on the door of Dr Kalburgi's house, as soon as it opened, Miskin barged in and shot the litterateur twice in the head, killing him on the spot. The duo then fled the scene, the SIT chargesheet stated.