CBI detains former K’taka Minister Vinay Kulkarni in 2016 murder case

New Delhi: The CBI on Thursday morning detained former Congress Minister Vinay Kulkarni for questioning in connection with the murder of a BJP worker Yogesh Gowda in 2016, official sources said.

According to a CBI source, Kulkarni was brought to a police station in Dharwad from his residence in Shivagiri for questioning.

The source, however, remained tightlipped on the question of whether he was arrested.

Gowda, a Zila Panchayat member, was murdered on June 15, 2016 in a gym in Saptapur in Karnataka’s Dharwad. The agency took over the probe on the recommendation of the Karnataka government on September 24, 2019.

In June, the CBI had examined Pandu Rangrane (the then retired Commissioner Hubli, Dharwad), Jinendra Khanagavi (the then DCP Dharwad and Presently SP Security Division Bengaluru), and Mallikarjun Baladandi (the then DCP Crime and Traffic Dharwad and presently Additional SP Haveri) at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office in Bengaluru.

“These policemen were the supervisory officers in Dharwad during the investigation of Yogesh Gowda murder case by the local police in 2016,” said a source, privy to the investigation.

The Police had registered a case against six accused, who are all residents of Dharwad. After taking over the investigation on September 24 last year, the CBI arrested eight persons, of whom seven are in judicial custody and one is out on bail.

In May, the CBI also filed a charge sheet against the eight people. The investigation agency said the accused had allegedly come to Dharwad on two occasions in June 2016 and with the support of the other accused allegedly planned the crime.

Earlier, the Karnataka Police had filed a charge sheet in the murder case on September 9, 2016.

According to the CBI, Gowda ran a gym in Dharwad and was a friend of Basavaraj Shivappa Muttagi, the prime accused, for the last 10 years, both with different political inclinations. Gowda came to know about a land purchase deal by Muttagi. As per the CBI, Gowda had threatened Muttagi that he should not purchase the land as it was under his custody and if he still proceeded, he would kill him.

Gowda was, however, killed in his gym by accomplices of Muttagi, who first sprinkled chilli powder on his face before hacking him to death.