Who killed Gauri Lankesh? This is the question that has haunted thousands after her cold-blooded murder in September last year. Now, the Special Investigation Team probing her murder have arrested a man named Parashuram Waghmore (26), who they believe is the man who shot her.
On Tuesday afternoon, the SIT produced 26-year-old Parashuram Waghmore in the 3rd ACMM Court in Bengaluru, where investigators alleged that he was the shooter who killed Gauri Lankesh. He has been remanded to 14-day police custody.
Two days ago, the SIT arrested Parashuram Waghmore from Sindgi in Vijayapura district. Another man named Sunil Aksar, who was questioned, reportedly gave clues to the SIT about Parashuram’s whereabouts. SIT says that Sunil had no role in the murder.
“The sketches drawn up by the SIT and also his pictures match. He was detained for two days, and after questioning him, we were sure that he was Gauri Lankesh’s shooter. We have not yet found the murder weapon but we know that one of the six people arrested has the weapon,” an SIT source told TNM.
The SIT, which had reconstructed the crime scene, had sent the CCTV footage and also the video of the reconstruction to the forensic lab. Based on the analysis, the forensic report had stated that a man who is not more than 5.1 ft weighing 60-70 kg killed Gauri Lankesh.
“Also, when Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen was detained, we realised that Parashuram Waghmore and Manohar Edave had practised shooting for a couple of months before the murder. Parashuram conducted the recce of Gauri’s house more than once,” the SIT source said.
One of the investigators said that Parashuram had moved to Bengaluru from Sindgi two months before Gauri’s murder and was also working in a shop close to her house.
“Parashuram is believed to have worked at one of his relative’s shop located near Gauri Lankesh’s house. We are being careful at this stage because it is very crucial to locate the murder weapon. The accused may also try to mislead us and we are being cautious. Initially when we questioned Manohar Edave, one of the accused, he misled us. But when we detained Parashuram we did not tell Manohar about it and that’s when we confirmed that he was misleading us,” the source added.
SIT sources say that Parashuram was one of the accused booked in a case where pro-Hindutva activists had burnt the flag of Pakistan outside the Tahsildar’s office in Sindgi in 2012.
“He was affiliated to the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and previously, the Shri Rama Sene as well. We have also found that Parashuram was given the gun a day before Gauri Lankesh’s murder,” the SIT source added.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwarinagar on the night of September 5, 2017. After months of investigations, the SIT arrested a man named KT Naveen Kumar in January this year. His arrest had revealed a larger plot where the killers were allegedly targeting other rationalists in the state.
After Naveen’s arrest, the SIT also arrested Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen, Amol Kale, Amit Degwekar and Manohar Edave in May. The SIT had taken them into custody and realised that none of them was the shooter. Finally, on Sunday, the police arrested Parashuram Waghmore, who they believe is the shooter.