Gauri Lankesh shot with gun similar to one used on Kalburgi: Ballistics report

Forensics expert BM Mohan said analysis of the bullets alone might not reveal much beyond stating the kind of gun used. However, an SIT member said the weapon was similar to the one used in Kalburgi’s murder.

bengaluru Updated: Sep 15, 2017 00:20 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Gauri Lankesh murder,Gauri Lankesh,Kalburgi
Protesters hold placards as they participate in a protest condemning the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in New Delhi, on September 7, 2017. (AP Photo)

Journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot with a country-made 7.65mm pistol, according to a ballistics report submitted on Thursday to a special investigation team (SIT) probing her murder.

“A similar pistol was used in the murder of rationalist and academic MM Kalburgi in August 2015,” said a member of the SIT constituted by the Karnataka government.

“The murder weapons are similar, but there is no link yet between the two killings,” added the SIT member, declining to be named.

Tests were conducted on four bullets, three of them lodged inside Lankesh’s body and one found stuck in a wall of her house at Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru.

Lankesh was shot when she was entering her house on September 5 evening.

Forensics expert BM Mohan said analysis of the bullets alone might not reveal much beyond stating the kind of gun used.

“As all the three bullets that hit Lankesh were lodged in her body, we can say that the weapon was country-made. Shots fired from a genuine, branded 7.65 mm would have created exit wounds,” Mohan, former director of the state forensic science laboratory (FSL), added.

The SIT has requested the state criminal investigation department (CID), which is investigating Kalburgi’s murder, to share the bullets that killed the academic.

“We will send it to the FSL to compare with the bullets fired at Lankesh,” said the SIT member.

So far, the footage from the CCTV camera installed at Lankesh’s door has not thrown up any conclusive leads, beyond showing a helmet-wearing person shooting her, according to the investigator.

A source privy to the investigation said all angles were still being probed. Investigators spoke to Lankesh’s brother Indrajit on Wednesday and described it as “routine”.

Lankesh, 55, was the daughter of poet-journalist P Lankesh, who founded the magazine Lankesh Patrike.

Later, she founded her own weekly and named it Gauri Lankesh Patrike, which often had articles critical of right-wing organisations and communal violence in the country.

In November last year, a court convicted Lankesh of defaming two Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in articles published in her weekly in 2008. She was sentenced to six months in jail and asked to pay Rs 10,000 penalty. She had been granted bail.

First Published: Sep 14, 2017 20:26 IST