Police suspect that Suresh, who was arrested recently, disposed off the murder weapon, the vehicles and the clothes the alleged shooter wore.

Gauri Lankesh murder SIT still on look-out for weapon and vehicles used in crime
news Crime Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 13:35

Over the past few months, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has arrested 12 people in connection with the crime. However, the sleuths are yet to locate the murder weapon and the vehicles used on the night of the murder.

Close to a year after the murder, the SIT did not have any physical evidence tying any of the suspects to the murder until the arrest of a key witness in the case – Suresh Kumar.

Suresh, who was initially a witness, was arrested by the SIT earlier this month and the police suspect that he was the man who disposed off the murder weapon, the vehicles and the clothes the alleged shooter, Parashuram Waghmore, wore.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwari Nagar on the night of September 5, 2017. She had sustained three bullet wounds which proved fatal.

On Monday, the SIT produced Suresh Kumar in court and petitioned for police custody as the sleuths are yet to interrogate him.

However, Suresh’s lawyer, Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, President of the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, argued that Suresh was assaulted by the SIT sleuths. However, the prosecution submitted a medical report which stated conclusively that Suresh did not have any external or internal injuries. The 3rd ACMM Court will pass the order on his custody on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, SIT officers have questioned two associates of Suresh Kumar from Dakshina Kannada district to locate the pistol used to kill Gauri.

The SIT is also in the process of tracking down persons involved in the plot to dispose the evidence after the crime was committed.

SIT sources said that one of the key accused in the case, who is also suspected to be the operations manager of the gang that planned to kill Gauri, had initially set a date in June 2017 to kill the journalist. However, when Amol Kale arrived in Bengaluru in June 2017, he was allegedly unhappy with the planning and decided to oversee the operations himself.

The group that allegedly planned the murder, including Ganesh Miskin, Parashuram Waghmore, Amit Baddi, Rajesh Bangera, Mohan Nayak, Amol Kale and his associate Amit Degwekar, apparently gathered again in Bengaluru in August 2017 to execute the murder.

While Miskin, Waghmore, Baddi and Bangera were lodged in a house rented by Nayak, the others including Kale and Nihal alias Dada, who is currently absconding, stayed at a house rented by Suresh Kumar in Seegehalli, SIT sources said.

The probe found that the gang had planned to kill Gauri on September 4 and failed in the attempt as the journalist was already inside her house by the time the shooters reached her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. They followed the same plan the next night and on September 5, 2017, she was shot dead at around 8.30 pm allegedly by Parashuram Waghmore, while Miskin waited for him on a bike a few metres away from Gauri’s home.

Waghmore and Miskin then rode up to a van, driven by Baddi, and the trio fled to the safehouse where they handed over the murder weapon to Suresh Kumar and left Bengaluru that very night, sources added.

In February, the SIT arrested KT Naveen Kumar. It was only after his arrest that an entire gang of suspects were nabbed. The SIT also uncovered the gang’s connection to an underground pro-Hindutva fringe group and learnt that the gang had conspired to kill several rationalists and progressive thinkers too. The SIT had found, in Amol Kale’s diary, a list of 36 names whom the gang had planned to kill.

Earlier, the SIT had arrested Amit Degwekar from Goa, Sujeet Kumar from Shivamogga, Manohar Edave from Vijayapura, KT Naveen Kumar from Maddur and Mohan Nayak from Dakshina Kannada.