Nearly a year since journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was killed outside her Bengaluru residence, the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) has established with forensic evidence that Parushuram Waghmore, one of the accused in the case, was in all likelihood the man who shot her dead. The Forensic Gait Analysis conducted by the Forensic Science Lab in Gujarat states that Parashuram is the probable suspect who shot Gauri.
After the cold-blooded murder of Gauri Lankesh on September 5, 2017, the SIT had recovered CCTV footage from the journalist’s home in which the shooter, who is wearing a helmet, is seen for six seconds. Upon Parashuram’s arrest, the SIT had taken him to Gauri’s home and had recreated the crime scene. Parashuram was made to wear a helmet and shoes and stand in the exact position as the suspect in the video.
“Based on the forensic report, the suspect is 5’.2’’. With the helmet and shoes his height could be between 5’.3’’ and 5’.4’’. We made Parashuram Waghmore recreate the crime scene and the original CCTV footage along with the recreated one was sent to the forensic lab for gait analysis. We also submitted footage of Parashuram Waghmore without the helmet. The report concludes that the persons in the two videos are one and the same with probable identity,” SIT sources say.
SIT officials say that Gait Analysis was adopted by India from the UK. The patterns of body movements are compared. Gait Analysis is a subset of Forensic Podiatry. “Forensic Podiatry is used to examine foot-prints or movements of the lower body in criminal investigations. This includes study of foot and lower limb anatomy, musculoskeletal function and deformities and sometimes the whole body. Forensic Gait Analysis is an off shoot of Forensic Podiatry where the patterns of a person’s gait are analysed. Forensically, we can now prove that Parashuram Waghmore killed Gauri Lankesh,” an SIT source said.
The SIT is now waiting for the forensic report on the 17 country-made pistols recovered by the Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad. “Once we get a match on the weapon, we will have a solid case, which connects the circumstantial evidence,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the CBI, which is probing the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 has now concluded that one of the accused in Gauri’s murder – Amit Degwekar was also involved in his murder and that of CPI leader Govind Pansare’s murder in 2015. Karnataka SIT sources say that Amit Degweker is allegedly the right-hand man of Amol Kale, suspected to be the mastermind in the Gauri Lankesh murder.
“Amit Degwekar’s blueprint was used by Amok Kale in the murders of MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. Since Amit Degwekar was financing the operations, Amol Kale was answerable to him,” CBI sources say.