Gauri Lankesh murder trial resumes; sister Kavita records statement

Updated on Jul 05, 2022 01:40 AM IST

Lankesh, a journalist and activist, was shot dead on the night of September 5, 2017, in front of her Rajarajeshwari Nagar home in Bengaluru.

The trial in the Gauri Lankesh murder case resumed at the special Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) court in Bengaluru on Monday, with the recording of the statement of witnesses. (HT File)
The trial in the Gauri Lankesh murder case resumed at the special Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) court in Bengaluru on Monday, with the recording of the statement of witnesses. (HT File)
By, Bengaluru

The trial in the Gauri Lankesh murder case resumed at the special Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) court in Bengaluru on Monday, with the recording of the statement of witnesses.

On May 27, Justice CM Joshi, who is presiding over the Special KCOCA court, had set the guidelines for the trial, setting the proceeding in motion. “The trial will be held continuously for weeks. For now, the trial will be held every second week of the month for five days. The hearing in the case will be held from July 4 to July 8,” justice Joshi said at the time.

Lankesh, a journalist and activist, was shot dead on the night of September 5, 2017, in front of her Rajarajeshwari Nagar home in Bengaluru.

On Monday, the special public prosecutor S Balan began by examining a key witness in the case, who was an associate of accused number 17 (A-17) K T Naveen Kumar. He is a witness in Prof Bhagawan’s attempt to murder case and Gauri Lankesh’s murder case. He identified four accused, who were present in the courtroom, through a video conference facility from the prisons.

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He identified Kumar and three others, A-13 Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, A-1 Amol Kale and A-5 Amith Degvekar, who, he said, he met at a farmhouse in Maddur with Kumar, and they asked him if he could make circuits near Lankesh’s residence.

Gauri’s sister, Kavita Lankesh, also the complainant in the case, was deposed on Monday. She told the court that suspicious people were moving around the house (before the murder), but they had not taken it seriously as they were unaware of the gravity of the situation.

She told the court that on September 5, 2017, she went to Gauri’s house after hearing that her sister had collapsed in front of her house. She later learnt that Gauri was murdered and recounted the murder scene and how she saw more than one cartridge.

During her cross-examination by counsels representing the accused, to specific questions, Kavitha denied that Gauri Lankesh and her siblings, including herself, had any property disputes. She further stated that Gauri Lankesh never had any Maoist links, and that she did not have any life threat from the Maoists.

As many as 17 accused in the Gauri Lankesh case -- including murder accused Parashuram Waghmore and main conspirator Amol Kale -- were arrested during the probe.

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During the investigation, the SIT found that an unnamed organisation that recruited right-wing activists from various Hindutva organisations was behind the murder. The investigation into the Lankesh murder conspiracy also unearthed a link between the murders of rationalists MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dhabolkar.

According to SIT officials, the trial of the Lankesh case will have an impact on the investigations into the murder of the other rationalists, which have not progressed.

In the initial days of the investigation, the SIT found a connection between the murders of Lankesh and professor NN Kalburgi, who was killed on August 30, 2015. The four bullets and cartridges recovered from Lankesh’s house matched the slugs and cartridges in Kalburgi’s murder. Forensic labs found that the bullets were fired from the same gun.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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