“The surveillance of the suspects, the seizure of several vehicles used by the suspects were all done with coordination of CID,” a source in the SIT said.

How the SIT and CID have been working together to solve Gauri Lankesh Kalburgi murders
news Crime Saturday, June 09, 2018 - 14:28

When journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in cold blood outside her house in Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwari Nagar on September 5, 2017, the police suspected that it was an ideologically-driven murder.

The investigating officials probing the case of Prof MM Kalburgi, who was shot dead inside his home in Dharwad, too, were pursuing leads with the suspicion that his murder was ideologically-driven.

And several months after Gauri killing, it has been revealed that according to ballistic reports, the comparison of bullet cartridges found at the murder scenes at Gauri’s and MM Kalburgi’s house show that the same weapon was used in both crimes.

The class characteristic marks and individual characteristic marks of the firing pin on the cartridge cases in the two murder cases, were found to have matched.

And following this, it has been revealed that both the SIT probing Gauri’s murder and the CID probing Kalburgi’s killing have been working together to crack both crimes.

How the SIT and CID worked together

According to a source in the SIT, while the details of the forensic report have only been released now, the report had been submitted to the SIT chief MN Anuchet days after the murder of Gauri – on September 13 itself.

“The surveillance of the suspects, the seizure of several vehicles used by the suspects were all done with coordination of CID,” the source said.

Sources also revealed that the SIT had received a list of names of suspects from the CID after they arrested KT Naveen Kumar.

“The one man the SIT was looking for was Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen. There was also information that people from Maharashtra were involved. So, we began surveillance activities after we narrowed down a few of them,” the source added.

During the course of investigation, one of the accused, who is suspected to be the mastermind in the Gauri plot – Amol Kale – was found to be residing in Goa’s Ponda area. The SIT, along with the help of the CID, began monitoring his movements.

Cracking down on Amol Kale

“Back then, we had clicked several photographs of Amol Kale but they were all from a distance. We had shared it with the CID, who had shown the picture to one of the family members of MM Kalburgi. However, as Amol’s face was not clear in those pictures, the relative had said that it could be one of the two killers who had knocked on their door the day of the murder. We were sure that the two murders were linked during the initial stages of the probe and hence we waited to take Kale into custody,” the source said.

Amol Kale was arrested along with two other men – Manohar Edave and Amit Degvekar on May 30 by the SIT. The three men have been in the SIT’s custody ever since. It was after his arrest that his mugshot was shown to the late Prof MM Kalburgi’s relative, who is said to have confirmed that Amol Kale was one of the two men who had entered their house on August 30, 2015 and killed Kalburgi.

The Kalburgi case had gone cold as the investigators, who had probed the murder for two years had reached a brick wall. With the evidence gathered by the SIT and the leads received, the CID too had leads to pursue.

“Initially, we had suspected that Govind Pansare’s killers and Kalburgi’s killers were the same but the accused in the Pansare case absconded after receiving bail in June 2017. The accused Sameer Gaikwad went underground and no one has been able to track him down. When Gauri Lankesh was murdered just months after he was out on bail, we had suspected he had a hand in it. With the interrogation of these accused, we have got several leads to probe Kalburgi’s murder,” an officer investigating Kalburgi’s murder said.

The shooters are still missing

However, in both cases, the investigators are yet to nab the actual shooter.

The SIT probing Gauri’s case believes that a man named Nihal alias Dada may be the shooter in Gauri’s case.

“In the CCTV footage obtained from Gauri Lankesh’s house, we know that the shooter is shorter that Gauri and is stout. In June 2017, Nihal alias Dada and Amol Kale had met one of the other accused, Manohar Edave in Belagavi’s Sweekar Hotel. This is where they first hatched a plot to kill Gauri Lankesh,” an SIT source said.

“Naveen Kumar had met Nihal alias Dada after Gauri’s murder when the gang was planning to kill Prof KS Bhagwan. Both of them have seen Nihal and both describe him as short and stout. But this is just an assumption that he is the shooter. We are trying to track him down. Once he is arrested we will know more,” the source added.

Meanwhile, the SIT source said that they were unwilling to hand over the suspects to the Maharashtra SIT probing Pansare's murder. According to sources, the members of the Maharashtra SIT have been following the movements of the investigators probing Gauri's killing since the arrest of KT Naveen Kumar.

"The SIT does not want to take chances of the accused absconding. Once we crack the case and the trial begins, we will think about sharing information with the Maharashtra SIT," the source added.



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