The prime accused in the murder of BJP Kodagu district President Balachandra Kalagi was shot dead outside his residence in Dakshina Kannada district's Sullia on Thursday. At around 7.30 am, unidentified assailants, who were waiting for the prime accused Sampath Kumar outside his residence in Shantinagar in Sullia, attacked him with machetes. The assailants fired two shots at point blank range before speeding away, the Sullia Police told TNM.
Dakshina Kannada SP BM Laxmi Prasad said that the shots were fired from a long-barrel weapon. Sampath Kumar aged 35 years, was going out of his when he was attacked with machetes. Police said that the machete had scored his torso, neck, left arm and head. Sampath's neighbours alerted the police when they rushed outside to find him in a pool of blood. The Sullia Police arrived and rushed him to the Sullia Government hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
Police said that prima facie, the wound to Sampath Kumar's head and the two shots proved fatal. "He was still alive when he was being taken to the hospital. He died on the way," the police said.
Sampath Kumar was accused of allegedly contracting the murder of BJP district President Balachandra Kalagi in March 2019. Sampath Kumar allegedly hired two other accused Hariprasad, a resident of Sampaje and a truck driver named Jagan from Madikeri to kill the BJP leader. The truck rammed into Balachandra's car on March 19. However, upon interrogation, the Madikeri Police found that it was allegedly a murder and not an accident. Police had found that Sampath Kumar and Hariprasad wanted to open a recreational centre and a bar in Sampaje in 2018. However, Balachandra Kalagi, who was the gram panchayat president of Sampaje, had not given them necessary permissions. The police had said in the chargesheet that this was allegedly the motive for Balachandra's murder.
Sampath Kumar was in prison for six months before the Karnataka High Court granted him conditional bail on September 9, 2019. Dakshina Kannada police say that they suspect Sampath Kumar's killers to be his acquaintances. "We suspect that the assailants knew Sampath Kumar's routine. Either they were his acquaintances or the assailants had surveilled his movements. We have learned that they were waiting for him to step outside," the police said.