The Special Investigation Team probing the murder of noted journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh on Friday filed its first additional chargesheet, which is just short of a thousand pages. In its 9,235 page-chargesheet submitted at the special KCOCA (Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act) court, the SIT has named 18 persons including 16 persons who have already been arrested and are allegedly part of Sanatan Sanstha. The KCOCA Act was invoked after it was established that the scribe was killed as a result of an organised criminal conspiracy. The SIT also sought permission to further investigate the case.
Firebrand editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, Gauri was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru's Rajarajeshwarinagar on the night of September 5, 2017, from point blank range by two men on a bike.
Earlier, the police had filed a 650-page chargesheet in the case eight months after the cold-blooded murder, where KT Naveen Kumar alias Hotte Manja, and Praveen alias Suchit Kumar were charged under sections 118 (concealing design to commit offence), 114 (criminal abetment), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and 35 (criminal intent) of the Indian Penal Code. The 650-odd page preliminary chargesheet in the case included 131 witnesses including forensic experts and eyewitnesses. It also included statements of family members of Gauri Lankesh, doctors who performed the autopsy and the officers who visited the spot on the night of the murder.
The SIT in October had secured the custody of Vasudev Suryavamshi, first arrested by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in connection with the Nalasopara explosive case. He is suspected to be the one who supplied the motorbike on which the alleged killers of Gauri used for the murder to reach the crime scene. He was also incidentally suspected to be involved in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
Those who have been arrested include Amol Kale from Pune, Amit Degwekar from Goa, Suchith Kumar, KT Naveen Kumar, Mohan Nayak, Manohar Edave, Amit Baddi, Ganesh Miskin, Rajesh Bangera, Bharat Kurne and Suresh Kumar from Karnataka.