The CBI has filed a charge sheet against former minister in the Congress-led Karnataka government Vinay Kulkarni and two others in connection with the 2016 murder of Yogesh Gowda, a BJP zilla panchayat member in Dharwad, officials said Tuesday.
Besides Kulkarni, the agency has filed the charge sheet against Chandrashekhar Indi and Shivananand Birdar in a special court in Dharwad, they said.
The agency has alleged that the accused had personal enmity and political rivalry with Gowda who rejected their offer to withdraw from the zilla panchayat elections in 2016.
“Investigations revealed that the Ex-Minister allegedly conspired with his close associates and in pursuance thereof, one of his associates agreed to execute the murder. It was further alleged that a land deal was entered by the accused and a purported land dispute was portrayed as a motive for the murder. Further, three country-made pistols were also seized by CBI,” CBI spokesperson R C Joshi said.
Officials said the killers who had come from Bengaluru were made to stay at a resort owned by a confidant of Kulkarni on June 7, 2016 during the first attempt of murder, they said.
The spokesperson said the CBI investigation revealed that an associate of Kulkarni arranged other accused from Bangalore and they visited Dharwad on two occasions.
“On the first occasion, they stayed in a resort at Dandelli allegedly arranged by the said accused (Kulkarni). They allegedly committed the murder during their second attempt. These accused fled after the commission of crime,” the spokesperson said.
Kulkarni had won the Dharwad Assembly seat in 2013, but was defeated in 2018 by the BJP’s Amrut Ayyappa Desai.
Gowda, a BJP zilla panchayat member, was killed in his gym on June 15, 2016 by unidentified men, they said.
The agency has taken over the probe on the recommendation of the Karnataka government, they said.
The probe by the local police cited property dispute as the reason behind the murder while the CBI probe shows it to be a political murder, they said. PTI