03/09/2015 7:00 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

MM Kalburgi Murder: Local Sri Rama Sene Leader Held

STRDEL via Getty Images
Indian mourners follow the funeral procession for scholar M.M. Kalburgi as he is taken to be buried at Karnataka University in Dharwad on August 31, 2015. Indian scholars on August 31, 2015 condemned the execution-style killing of a leading scholar who had spoken out against idol worship and angered hardline Hindu groups in the run-up to his death. M.M. Kalburgi, an academic and writer from southern Karnataka state, was shot in the forehead after opening the door of his home on August 30 and later died in hospital, police said. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

MANGALORE -- The chief of a local fringe rightwing outfit was detained on Thursday by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) in connection with the murder of progressive Kannada scholar and researcher Prof M M Kalburgi at Dharwad on August 30, police said.

Prasad Attavar, head of Rama Sene, who had been detained for interrogation, has been handed over to Bunder police station here, police said, as they remained clueless on the killers of Kalburgi even four days after the brutal murder.

A few messages related to Kalburgi were being circulated in the social media carrying Attavar's photo and police wanted to make sure whether they were posted by him or his photo was used to spread the messages.

Attavar, who was a member of Sri Rama Sene led by Pramod Muthalik till 2009, had later left the outfit and formed the Rama Sene.

Sri Ram Sene had gained notoriety for moral policing in Dakshina Kannada district. Attack on some young men and women at a pub here in January 2009 alleging "immoral activities" was blamed on the outfit.

Bantwal police had on August 31 arrested Bhuvith Shetty, the co-convenor of the Bajrang Dal unit there for posting a tweet justifying the murder of Kalburgi and warning that scholar K S Bhagwan, another rationalist free-thinker, would be their next target.

Shetty, who later withdrew his remarks from Twitter, was released on bail.

Kalburgi was shot dead at his residence in Dharwad by unidentified assailants, an incident which had evoked nationwide protest. Police had released sketches of the suspects yesterday.

Karnataka government has decided to hand over the case to CBI for probe. The state CID would investigate till the central agency takes over the case.

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