In the nondescript area of Navalur in Dharwad, miscreants fired two rounds with a revolver outside a resort on Tuesday night. People who witnessed the incident informed the police regarding the shooting.
Upon preliminary investigation, the police now suspect that Karnataka Minister for Mines and Geology, Vinay Kulkarni, who was staying in the resort, may have been the target. Police believe that the accused intended to exact revenge on Vinay for BJP leader Yogesh Gowdaâ€™s death.
In June 2016, a senior BJP leader from Dharwad, Yogesh Gowda was brutally hacked to death. During the course of investigation, Yogeshâ€™s family had alleged that Minister Vinay Kulkarni had threatened to kill Yogesh just a few days before he was brutally murdered.
Speaking to the media, Minister Vinay Kulkarni said that he had â€śfaith in the police to solve the case.â€ť
â€śI was at the resort for personal reasons. The police told me that they have arrested three men in connection to the case. I have faith that the police will investigate thoroughly,â€ť he added.
On Wednesday, the Hubballi-Dharwad Police nabbed three men â€“ Hanumanthagowda Patil, Raghavendra and Nagaraj â€“ in connection with Tuesdayâ€™s shooting.
How is Yogesh Gowdaâ€™s murder related to the recent shooting?
According to Hubballi-Dharwad Police Commissioner MN Nagaraj, the investigators suspect that the three men may have targeted Minister Vinay Kulkarni and another man named Basavaraj Shivappa Muttagi, who were staying at the resort.
Basavaraja Muttagi is one of the accused in the Yogesh Gowda murder case and an aide of Minister Kulkarni.
â€śBasavaraj Muttagi was in the resort grounds and Minister Kulkarni was scheduled to enter the resort premises roughly around the same time the shots were fired. But the Minister did not end up coming at the scheduled time and was late,â€ť he said.
Commissioner Nagaraj said that one of the accused, Raghavendragowda Patil, was a close friend of the deceased Yogesh Gowda.
A case of attempted murder has been registered at the Vidyagiri Police Station.
â€śRaghavendragowda was a resident of Dharwad districtâ€™s Saptapura town, the same as the deceased Yogesh Gowda. Raghavendragowda used to frequent the gym owned by Yogesh Gowda in the same town. The accused had also campaigned for Yogesh Gowda during the Zilla Panchayat elections. We suspect that he wanted to target Minister Vinay Kulkarni and Basavaraj Muttagi in order to exact revenge for Yogeshâ€™s death,â€ť Commissioner Nagaraj added.
The police have also recovered Rs 5.4 lakh cash, four live rounds of bullets, a revolver and two rounds which were fired.
The Police have also requested the suspension of Raghavendragowdaâ€™s gun licence. â€śInitially, the accused said that they had fired the bullets as they were attacked by unidentified people. However, upon investigation, it was revealed that no one had attacked the three men. The investigation will be complete in 45 days,â€ť Commissioner Nagaraj said.