Sixth suspect arrested in Gauri Lankesh murder, police yet to confirm his role in case
Waghmare’s is the sixth arrest in connection with the killing of Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead in front of her house in Bengaluru on September 5 last year.india Updated: Jun 12, 2018 22:36 IST
The special investigation team probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has made its sixth arrest with the capture of a 26-year-old man in the case.
Parashuram Wagmare, who was arrested on Monday, was produced before the 3rd Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in the city on Tuesday and has been remanded to 14 days of police custody. The SIT also arrested his alleged accomplice Sunil Agasara.
Wagmare hails from Sindagi town in Vijayapura district and a senior official of the SIT said he runs a mobile phone store in the town.
However, the SIT official said Wagmare’s role in the conspiracy was yet to be confirmed through interrogation. “We have only received his custody on Tuesday and we will have to interrogate him and corroborate his statements with other evidence before confirming his role in the conspiracy.”
Lankesh was gunned down outside her house on September 5 and the Forensic Science Laboratory has confirmed that the gun used to murder Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi was used to kill Lankesh.
The SIT’s biggest breakthrough in the case was the arrest of KT Naveen Kumar, a resident of Birur in Chickamagaluru district. Based on Kumar’s confession and other evidence gathered by the SIT, four others were arrested.
In his confession, Kumar has said that he was roped into the conspiracy by one Praveen, who has also been arrested, who was a member of a radical Hindu group. While Kumar said he did not provide the weapon for the murder he had been active in a separate conspiracy to kill the rationalist KS Bhagwan.
The SIT initially arrested Kumar in relation to Bhagwan’s murder, a conspiracy senior SIT officials confirmed was in the final stages of execution. In that case, too, Kumar had been approached by Praveen, allegedly based on his effectiveness in the plot to murder Lankesh.
However, on Tuesday, the police released a report by the Directorate of Forensic Science in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, which says that Kumar had denied any role in the murder of Lankesh.
Kumar was taken to Gandhinagar for polygraph and other tests, but he refused permission just before it was conducted.
The report says that Kumar only knew of Lankesh as a reporter and that his interest in her was only out of curiosity. “After the murder, he started taking interest in the case. When police took him to her house he came to know about her house.”
Further, the report adds, that he had never spoke about Lankesh to anybody and that he did not have any feelings towards her either of happiness or sadness, and claimed that he was under “mental pressure”. According to the report, he was only not a “big Hindu” and did not plan to murder Bhagwan either.
However, in his statement to the FSL in Gujarat he said he did know Praveen, who he met at a function in Bengaluru. “He told openly that Praveen asked him once very casually [if] he could arrange a gun for him and he agreed. But he never provided the gun to him.”
First Published: Jun 12, 2018 18:58 IST