"We have decided to hand over the case to CID.... This incident should not have happened. It is highly condemnable," Chief Minister told reporters here, a day after Kalaburgi was shot dead at point-blank range by two unidentified men.

77-year-old Kalburgi was an associate of rationalist Govind Pansare of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, who also fell victim in similar circumstances in February, and had drawn the ire of some right-wing Hindu outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal with his remarks about idol worship by Hindus.

He had often spoken against superstitions and courted controversies with his outspoken stand. At Dharwad this morning, hundreds of admirers of Kalburgi paid last respects to him. The funeral will take place later in the day today. Yesterday, the attackers had knocked at the door of Kalburgi's house claiming to be his students and as it was opened, they pumped bullets into his forehead and chest and fled. He died in a hospital.

"Whoever is behind this, we will catch them and punish according to law," said the Chief Minister, who visited Dharwad to pay last respects to Kalburgi yesterday. Asked if the sleuths have got any clues, Home Minister K J George said the probe was being started. "It will be investigated from all angles."

Latest News from State News Desk