BJP worker’s murder: Former minister’s judicial custody extended till January 22

Prime News, Karnataka, Crime, Bengaluru, January 9:- Former minister Vinay Kulkarni’s judicial custody has been extended until January 22. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested him in November over his alleged involvement in the murder of BJP worker Yogesh Gowda in the Dharwad district.

Kulkarni was interrogated for an entire day before being taken into custody. The agency had reportedly suspected Kulkarni of being evasive in his replies during the questioning and needed custodial interrogation to unearth the larger conspiracy behind Gowda’s murder.

The CBI reportedly found that Kulkarni, Congress leader and former Mines and Geology Minister in Karnataka, was allegedly a participant in the conspiracy which led to the BJP worker’s murder.

According to the CBI investigation, Kulkarni had allegedly told Gowda not to contest the Zilla Panchayat elections, which the latter had refused. Kulkarni and Gowda are said to have had heated exchanges on several occasions. A “serious altercation” had taken place during a ZP meeting chaired by Kulkarni on April 22, 2016, which reportedly triggered the conspiracy to murder Gowda.

The CBI had later arrested Chandrashekhar Indi, a relative of Kulkarni, for allegedly procuring and supplying three country-made pistols to Basappa Shivappa Muttagi, who allegedly executed Gowda’s murder. During the investigation, the CBI also seized contraband pistols from Muttagi, and one of these was found to be the murder weapon.

It was alleged that Muttagi, who was friends with Kulkarni, also had an argument over a land deal with Gowda. The latter is believed to have warned Muttagi to not purchase the land since it was in his possession.

Gowda, a BJP ZP, was killed in his gym in Dharwad by unidentified men on June 15, 2016. The case was initially investigated by the Karnataka Police, who filed a charge sheet against six accused persons on September 9, 2016. The case was later handed over to the CBI after the BJP government came to power. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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