After Gauri’s murder, the gang turned their attention to KS Bhagwan and that is when they got busted.

Phone booths recces and buying guns Details of Gauri murder accuseds confession
news Crime Friday, June 08, 2018 - 17:13

“Are you ready for a job? Gauri Lankesh from Bengaluru is making statements against Hindus and Hindu gods. My men and I are ready to eliminate her and I need your help, Praveen said”. 

These are the words of KT Naveen Kumar, in a chilling 12-page confession that the Special Investigation team has from him.

Naveen Kumar, an accused in the cold-blooded murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has told the SIT about his life as a pro-Hindutva activist, how he came to meet the other accused in the case – Praveen, their plot to kill Gauri and the procurement of weapons to allegedly kill well known writer and rationalist KS Bhagwan.

“He (Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen) said if I was up for it, I would have to procure bullets first and once I completed that task, he would give me further instructions. He said Gauri Lankesh had to be killed because she was against Hinduism. Even though I knew it was against the law, I decided to be part of the plot to kill Gauri Lankesh. Since I am an ardent follower of Hinduism and I believe in protecting the religion, I was extremely angry with Gauri Lankesh as she was speaking against Hinduism. So I agreed to arrange for bullets,” Naveen Kumar’s confession statement reads.

Praveen had also informed Naveen that they could not use mobile phones to contact each other and could call only from phone booths. Naveen says that he tried to source a gun and bullets from Chamarajanagar district’s Kollegal and also Ooty but was unsuccessful. “Since I did not have a mobile phone, I was unable to tell Praveen that could not procure them,” the statement adds.

Naveen states that he became aware of Gauri’s murder when he saw it on television at the Sanathan Sanstha’s ashram in Mangaluru.

“I assumed that Praveen had arranged for the gun and bullets by himself and did not talk about it,” the statement adds.

How did Naveen meet Praveen?

“In June 2017, Mohan Gowda (of the Hindu Janajgruthi Samiti, a sister concern of Sanathan Sanstha) called me and asked me to go to Ponda in Goa where the Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti’s convention was going to happen at the Radhakrishna Temple. I accepted his request and I also attended the convention in Goa. I was given a room to stay there, which I was to share with Praveen,” the statement reads.

After the convention, when Naveen told Mohan Gowda about being in possession of a gun, Gowda is said to have told Naveen that persons with similar views as his, would soon contact Naveen to carry out works for protecting Hinduism.

“A few days after the convention, a man called me from a phone booth and identified himself as a member of the Hindu Majdoor Kisan and expressed his wish to talk to me. He said that Mohan Gowda had given him my number and identified himself as Praveen. I didn’t know if it was his real name. When I called Mohan Gowda to confirm with him about Praveen, he told me that Praveen was from his organisation and that I could proceed with the talks with him,” the statement adds.

A few weeks after the phone call, Praveen also paid a visit to Naveen’s house where they are said to have discussed the issue of procurement of a gun and several bullets.

“My wife went to work that morning and Praveen and I were at home. There, he told me that in order to save Hindu religion, he needed a gun and bullets. Then I showed Praveen the dummy bullets I had. He took a couple of bullets and informed me that he will have to check whether the bullets would be the right ones in a few days. He told me that he required a gun and asked me to arrange for it,” Naveen’s statement says.

On August 20, Praveen and Naveen met at a park opposite Adichunchanagiri complex, where the duo is said to have spoken about the plot to kill Gauri Lankesh.

Mohan Gowda told TNM that Naveen Kumar had been forced to sign the confession statement and another accused Manohar Edave had been brutally in police custody.

Who is KT Naveen Kumar?

A college student, who was initially pursuing B. Com in Mysuru’s JSS college, KT Naveen dropped out and joined the Bajrang Dal in Karkala, where he met Pramod Muthalik (the infamous leader of Shri Rama Sene). His confession states that he worked for the Bajrang Dal for a few months and later quit the outfit to start a drip irrigation dealership in Maddur.

“Since the business was running under a loss, I got into the finance business and was working for several pro-Hindutva organisations side by side. I was in touch with members of the Bajrang Dal, Pramod Muthalik and Prabhakar Shetty from Mangaluru,” the statement says.

Pramod Muthalik had initially told Naveen to work towards expanding the organisation’s reach in Mysuru and Mandya. When Pramod Muthalik quit Bajrang Dal and formed the Shri Rama Sene, Naveen too switched sides and was tasked with recruiting people for the Maddur division of the Sene.

“Later, I started my own outfit and since the past three to four years, I have been running the Hindu Yuva Sene,”the confession statement says.

Naveen Kumar has allegedly confessed to administering several WhatsApp groups named Hindu Yuva Sene, Jago Hindu Maddur, Bajrangi Maddur, Kaveri Kollada Hudugaru and others through which he would send messages asking for the participants to “save Hindu religion”.

During the course of interaction with several pro-Hindutva activists, Naveen Kumar met Mohan Gowda, the convenor of Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti in Bengaluru’s Vijaynagar, at one of the outfit’s conventions.

The plot to kill KS Bhagwan

In October 2017, which is a month after Gauri’s murder, Praveen allegedly contacted Naveen through a coin booth and set up a meeting. The duo met in Mandya, where Praveen advised Naveen to cultivate pro-Hindutva activist Anil Kumar from Srirangapattana, as a source.

Naveen is said to have contacted Anil and the duo became friends. Naveen allegedly advised Anil to procure a gun and practice shooting as it would come in handy.

“I told Anil to practice shooting while sitting down, lying on the floor, standing and also while walking. He said his practice sessions are on when I contacted him a few days later,” Naveen said.

Naveen’s confession also revealed that Praveen had taken him to Belagavi where he met a man named Sanjay Bansare, who asked him to procure a gun and bullets to kill KS Bhagwan. In November 2017, Praveen, Sanjay Bansare and two others named Pradeep Mahajan and Nihal alias Dada met Naveen.

The men had allegedly asked Naveen to also conduct a reconnaissance of KS Bhagwan’s house and find out whether CCTV cameras were installed at the Professor’s house and if there were security guards manning the gates.

On January 7, 2018, Praveen allegedly called Naveen and asked him about the weapon. “I told him that I had the gun and bullets,” the statement reads.

However, when Naveen came to Bengaluru to deliver the weapons to another person, the Upparpet Police arrested him. Upon questioning, it was revealed that he was involved in plotting Gauri Lankesh’s murder and also involved in another plan to kill KS Bhagwan.

 

 

 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.