29/10/2015 12:25 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Kalburgi Murder Case: Police Recover Body Of Man Who Resembles Sketch Of Prime Suspect

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)

In a startling new development in the murder of MM Kalburgi, a bullet-ridden body recovered by the police on October 18 from Karnataka's Belgavi district, bears an uncanny resemblance to the sketch of one of the prime suspects who shot and killed the noted writer and scholar.

The body, which was recovered at Manikwadi between Khanapur and Honde in Belgavi district, resembles Rudra Patil, one of Kalburgi's suspected assailant, reported The Indian Express.

“There are some similarities between the person who was found dead near Khanapur and a sketch released by the Hubli-Dharwad city police of the Kalburgi assailant. We are trying to establish the real identity,” Belagavi Superintendent of Police, BR Ravikanthe Gowda, told IE.

Kalburgi, 77, was shot dead by two unidentified assailants at his home in Karnataka. While the motive for the murder hasn't been proven yet, the noted writer has been receiving threats to his life after criticising idol worship as a “meaningless ritual” during a seminar in 2014.

Police had released in the first week of September the sketches prepared on the basis of the accounts given by the deceased scholar's wife, Umadevi, and another person who had a glimpse of the killers.

The state CID is probing the killing, which has led to national outrage with several writers returning their Sahitya Akademi awards over "rising intolerance", citing the murder of Kalburgi as one of the reasons for their action.

Maharashtra police have exchanged data and sketches of suspected murderers of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar and veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare at Kolhapur in that state. Karnataka police had also visited Maharashtra to collect vital clues, if any.

Police of both Maharashtra and Karnataka are trying to ascertain if there is any link between Kalburgi's murder and the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare.

(With inputs from PTI)

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