A white Etios car comes and parks on the road and Gauri Lankesh gets out of her car. She walks up to a small gate to her house, unlocks it and proceeds to open a bigger gate to let the car in.
As she tries to open the bigger gate, the CCTV footage shows the headlights of another vehicle presumed to be a bike that has come from behind.
Soon, a short person wearing a black jacket with a helmet on, walks up to Gauri and fires at her at close range. Gauri turns at the unexpected intruder and tries to move, but she collapses.
As Gauri lays motionless on the ground, her attacker flees from the scene. Throughout the attack, the attacker has the helmet on.
These are the events that led up to the cold-blooded murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh on Tuesday night. And this footage was captured by a CCTV camera in the garage of her house in Ideal Homes Layout in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru.
Police have recovered footage from 4 cameras in her house, and the one from the garage clearly shows the killer.
Almost a day after she was shot dead at her Bengaluru home, there are only a few precious clues about her assailants. “The person does not take the helmet off, it would be difficult to understand who it is even if we use sophisticated face recognition,” a police source who has seen the footage told TNM.
Police say that of the four CCTV cameras in Gauri Lankesh’s residential premises, two were located outside the house.
Although not more than one attacker could be seen in the CCTV visuals accessed as of now, an investigating officer said that there were three assailants involved in the crime.
“Three of them followed Gauri Lankesh in two bikes. The first shot misfired, while she sustained three bullet wounds. Two in her chest and one in her abdomen area,” the officer added.
The police suspect that the assailants were contract killers.
“This is only a suspicion but we are still investigating the case,” the officer said.
Indrajit Lankesh, Gauri’s brother, said that the CCTV footage outside the house had captured the entire incident. “Her phone also contains a lot of valuable information. There are a lot of clues available. The culprits will be nabbed soon,” Indrajit said.
Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy said the police have gathered crucial clues about the assailants and also said that arrests would be made soon.
The Karnataka government has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the murder. Three teams of detectives have been set up to probe the case and so far, footage from more than 30 CCTVs in the locality is being examined.
Police are also questioning Gauri’s neighbours about what they saw on the night of her murder and also about suspicious movements on that fatal day.
When asked if Gauri’s murder had any connection to the murder of rationalist writer MM Kalburgi, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that while the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi were committed using country-made weapons, the weapon used in Gauri Lankesh’s murder was foreign-made.
“I am keeping an open mind on this. Let us see how the SIT probe works out. If the family is insistent, then I am okay with handing over the case to the CBI,” he added.