Bengaluru: The special Investigation Team probing the murder of Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh have made their first arrest.
37-year old K T Naveen Kumar, which investigations have revealed in linked to radical Hindutva group called the Hindu Yuva Sene, was arrested by the SIT on Friday. Kumar was already arrested by the cops for illegal possession of bullets on Feb 18.
He is also allegedly linked to members of the Sanatan Sanstha outfit and its affiliate the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. He has been found in possession of more than 15 rounds of the cartridges of the .32 calibre, which are the same as the 7.65 mm cartridges.
The SIT initially sought a warrant for Kumar’s arrest in the Gauri Lankesh case — shortly after he was remanded in judicial custody in the illegal arms case — citing voluntary statements given by some of Kumar’s friends about his links to the Gauri Lankesh murder.
When Kumar was produced before the court of an additional chief metropolitan magistrate, the SIT gave the court a sealed copy of a confession statement given by him about his involvement in the murder. An assistant public prosecutor, Nirmala Rani, presented a remand plea to the court seeking police custody of Kumar for eight days in order to unearth the larger conspiracy and materials used in the crime.
“At present, only one accused has been named. Others will be added after investigations. This suspect was traced on the basis of CCTV footage,” said Rani. Kumar was arrested under the jurisdiction of the Upparpet police station in west Bengaluru on February 18 based on a complaint filed by a crime branch official stating that he was caught with bullets in the city bus stand.
The investigations in the Upparpet case show that Kumar, during conversations about guns and ammunition with some of his friends from Maddur, had alluded to his links to the murder of Gauri Lankesh. SIT officials have already questioned Kumar on a few occasions since his arrest on February 18.
Gauri Lankesh was shot with a 7.65 mm country-made pistol in the driveway of her home in west Bengaluru on the evening of September 5, 2017 by an unidentified man wearing a helmet. The suspect who rode the getaway motorcycle was also unidentified.