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Gauri Lankesh murder: After first arrest, SIT raises number of suspects from three to four

A 37-year-old man was on Friday taken into custody by a Special Investigation Team in connection with the murder of Kannada journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2018 07:18 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Gauri Lankesh,Gauri Lankesh murder,SIT probe in
Journalist Gauri Lankesh was found murdered outside her house in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. She had been shot four times by an assailant wearing a helmet, police investigation revealed.(AP )

The Karnataka police team probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh on Saturday revised the number of suspects in the case from three to four following the arrest of a suspected illegal arms supplier.

“The illegal arms supplier, KT Naveen Kumar, has given us information that we are checking out,” said a member of the special investigation team (SIT) tasked with cracking the case. “Kumar is connected to the case. He does not appear to have played a major part in the crime, but it is still a major breakthrough for us,” added the SIT member, who asked not to be named.

The SIT had initially released sketches of three suspects in the case. “We have reasons to believe there is a fourth suspect,” the investigator said.

An assailant wearing a helmet shot Lankesh, 55, outside her home on September 5, 2017. The assailant fired four bullets at her and struck her thrice. Lankesh, known for her anti-establishment and pro-Dalit stands, was targeted when she was returning home from work. The murder was captured on a CCTV camera.

Lankesh was the daughter of poet-journalist P Lankesh and the editor of weekly tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike.

Read | Gauri Lankesh, a journalist known for anti-establishment, pro-Dalit stand

Police arrested Kumar in Bengaluru on February 18. “He was in the city to sell ammunition. In total, 15 bullets were recovered from him,” said the SIT member.

“Kumar, who is from Chikmagalur district, is the founder of the Hindu Yuva Sene, a radical right-wing group without any apparent affiliation to any other organisation,” he added.

After the murder, the SIT had pinned hopes on finding leads from CCTV footage and mobile call data. However, only a few leads turned up, forcing the SIT to change tack and launch a crackdown on illegal arms suppliers across the state. “This is when Kumar’s name came to our notice,” said the SIT member.

On Friday, court gave the police Kumar’s custody for eight days for further investigations.

First Published: Mar 03, 2018 22:08 IST