The Dakshina Kannada police on Thursday announced the arrest of three persons who allegedly killed 31 year-old BJP Yuva Morcha leader Praveen Nettaru at Bellare in Sullia taluk on July 26.
Despite having definite clues about the assailants from the beginning, the police were unable to secure them as they had been shifting places frequently, said Additional Director-General of Police (Law & Order) Alok Kumar.
Speaking to reporters here, he gave the names of the accused as Shiyab, 33, Basheer, 29, and Riyaz Ankatadka, 27, all hailing from Sullia taluk. With this, the total number of arrested persons has risen to 10. The assailants were suspected to be associated with Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Mr. Kumar said.
The ADGP said the police would take the accused into custody to gather more information on their motive and why Praveen was targeted. Political affiliation, if any, would be mentioned in the chargesheet later. The police as well as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would bring to book other accomplices who harboured and financed the main accused.
Mr. Kumar said the assailants were constantly on the move, initially escaping to Bekal in Kasaragod district and to other places. Following a tip-off, Sullia police inspector Naveenchandra Jogi and his team arrested them from a hideout at Talapady on Dakshina Kannada-Kerala border.
The assailants used five two-wheelers, including a black coloured one used on the day of the offence, and a car. The police would seize all these vehicles as well as other material used by the assailants before handing over the case to NIA. The police might take three days to complete the formalities after taking custody of the assailants.
Mr. Kumar said Shafiq, 27, who was initially arrested in the case is the son of Ibrahim, who worked in Praveen’s chicken shop for about three months before the crime. Shafiq knew Praveen well and it helped in recce of the latter. The three accused were not involved in any major offences earlier, he said.
To curb criminal activities, the police would take action, including attaching properties, if the accused in any major crime remains absconding. The police were directed to take preventive action against persons suspected to cause communal tension, he said.
The ADGP commended the work of Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police Rishikesh Sonawane, Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) Devajyoti Ray, Superintendent of Police (CID) M.N. Anuchet, Hassan Superintendent of Police Hariram Shankar, and personnel from Dakshina Kannada, Hassan, Udupi, Uttara Kannnada, Chikkamagaluru, and Mandya police in cracking the case.
Praveen was murdered on the night of July 26 when he was preparing to leave his shop for home by three motorcycle-borne assailants. The police initially arrested Zakir and Shafiq, followed by Saddam, Haris, Abid, Naufal, and C.A. Abdul Kabeer. On August 3, Union Home Ministry asked NIA to take up the probe.