Karnakata Jain seer’s murder: Home Minister Parameshwara rejects BJP demand for CBI probe, compliments police

The minister also spoke to Jain seer Varuru Gunadhara Nandi Maharaj, who threatened to launch a fast-unto-death protest in Hubballi.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Jul 10, 2023 | 9:23 PMUpdatedJul 10, 2023 | 9:23 PM

Accused Narayana Basappa Mali and Hassan Dalayath. (Supplied)

Complimenting the state police for cracking the Jain seer murder case, Karnataka’s Home Minister G Parameshwara categorically stated on Monday, 10 July, that case would not be transferred to the CBI.

The minister made the statement even as the chorus for a CBI probe grew louder and the BJP demanded it in the Legislative Assembly. The Opposition feared that the police probe would lead to a “cover-up”.

Jain community members held protests at several places, including at Chikkodi in the Belagavi district, condemning the gruesome murder of Acharya Kamakumara Nandi Maharaj (58) of the Nandi Parvat Jain Ashram at Hirekodi village in Chikkodi.

Two persons, building contractor Narayana Basappa Mali, and his henchman Hassan Dalayath, were arrested for allegedly murdering the seer and then chopping the body into multiple pieces before dumping them in a borewell at the Khatakbhavi village in Raibag taluk, some 30 km from Hirekodi.

Related: Dispute over ₹6 lakh led to Karnataka Jain seer’s murder

Minister assures fair probe

“No one should politicise such cases. After the police got to know about the incident and the complaint was filed, they immediately swung into action and arrested the culprits,” Minister Parameshwara told reporters.

“They have recovered the body parts that were dumped in a borewell pit and took necessary action. I compliment the police for the swift action,” he added.

The minister also said he spoke to Jain seer Varuru Gunadhara Nandi Maharaj, who threatened to launch a fast-unto-death protest in Hubballi following the incident. Parameshwara said he met the seer to understand his demands and assured him action would be initiated to prevent such incidents from recurring.

On a question over the demand for a CBI probe, the minister said the police department was efficient.

“The inquiry is underway, so I don’t see the need for handing over the probe to the CBI or any other agency immediately. The police department has started the probe and once it is completed, the truth will be known,” he added.

The police said the investigation was underway, and all angles would be probed.

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Bommai raps police’s ‘haste’

Meanwhile, former chief minister and BJP leader Basawaraj Bommai said the audacity of the accused showed there was no fear of the law in the state. There was no financial dealings between the seer and the accused, he contended.

It was earlier said that a financial dispute over ₹6 lakh led to the murder.

“Instead of going into the details, the police concluded that financial dealings had led to the murder and then they tried to keep the identity of the second accused under wraps. Also there are more people behind this incident,” Bommai said, adding there was a conspiracy behind the murder.

“If the government believes in a fair probe, it has to hand over the case to the CBI, while also taking steps to strengthen the law and order situation,” the BJP leader added.

Alleging that the police and the administration did not take seriously the pontiff going missing and the subsequent murder, he said, “There are allegations of a cover-up with political support. To prove the allegation is wrong, hand over the probe to the CBI for a fair and impartial investigation. The monk’s murder is heinous, like that by the ISIS.”

He also warned of strong public reaction if the government did not transfer the probe to the CBI.

Responding to the issue, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Home Minister Parameshwara would be visiting Hubballi and Chikkodi to gather more details, and would make a statement on his return. He condemned the murder and called it heinous and brutal.

It has been alleged that the seer was electrocuted before his body was cut into pieces to fit the borewell. He seer was last seen alive on Wednesday, 5 July.

(With PTI inputs)