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In September last year, another accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, arrested by the Maharashtra ATS, was shifted to Bengaluru.

3 accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case to be shifted to Mumbai from BengaluruRepresentational Image
news Crime Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 13:18

Three out of the total 18 people accused in the murder case of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh will be transported to Mumbai from Bengaluru. This comes a day after the Bombay High Court ordered that Amol Kale (former convenor of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and also a key accused in the Dabholkar murder), Amit Baddi and Ganesh Miskin be shifted to Mumbai's Arthur Road prison.

Justice Mridula Bhatkar passed the direction while hearing a plea by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of Maharashtra, which is probing the Nalasopara Arms Haul Case against members of fringe groups like Hindu Janjagruti, Sanathan Sanstha and their offshoot organisations.

The trio is currently lodged in Bengaluru Central Prison in Parappana Agrahara after they were arrested by the Special Investigation Team constituted to solve the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead on September 5, 2017.

To this effect, a notice has been sent to the Bengaluru Central Jail Superintendent and the Maharashtra government, asking the latter to ensure adequate security arrangements for the transportation of the accused.  

The three accused are also allegedly played a role in the murders of rationalists MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

SIT sources in Karnataka told TNM, “The Bombay High Court has given this order so that the accused can defend themselves in the court and also later the ATS can also ask for custody to get vital evidence to clinch the case.”

The trio was initially arrested by the Maharashtra ATS in connection with the Arms Haul Case and had their custody for less than a week in October 2018 before a Mumbai sessions court sent them to judicial custody.  

Similarly, Sharad Kalaskar, the alleged killer of Narendra Dabholkar, arrested by the Maharashtra ATS in August, was previously brought to Bengaluru by the SIT to solve the Gauri Lankesh murder case. A principal sessions court in Bengaluru had granted 20-day custody to the SIT under provisions of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000 in September.

The SIT sources told TNM that Kalaskar was given the two murder weapons in the Gauri case after its execution in Belagavi. Kalaskar was also allegedly asked by Amol Kale to make indigenous guns for these groups.

Earlier, the SIT, in June 2018, had objected to sharing custody of the other common accused before concluding investigations.

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