Bengaluru

SIT arrests key member of Gauri murder plot

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The Special Investigation Team (SIT), on Thursday, arrested a key member of the unnamed organisation behind the murder of activist and journalist Gauri Lankesh. The accused, Rushikesh Deodikar, had managed to evade investigators until recently.

The SIT, which is also probing the assassination of M.M. Kalburgi, caught the trail of Deodikar in December 2019. The arrest was made on Thursday, from Katrasgarh, a small town near Dhanbad, Jharkhand, where Rushikesh was hiding and working at a bookstore.

Deodikar, 44, hailing from Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, went by the names Murali and Shiva. He was a key member of the unnamed criminal syndicate behind the murders of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh between 2013 and 2017.

The chargesheet in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, has several references to his role. Multiple key accused in the case – Sharad Kalaskar, Vasudev Suryavamshi, recruiters for the gang in Karnataka Sujith Kumar and Manohar Edave – have said Deodikar was an ideological motivator and recruiter.

“In the hierarchy of the syndicate, he was only next to Dr. Virendra Tawde and Amol Kale, who led conspiracies and execution of the four murders. Catching Deodikar was key, as he had the potential to recoup the gang after the spate of arrests and continue with their target of eliminating durjans,” said a senior SIT official. “He was part of the conspiracy in all the four murders,” the official said.

Rushikesh Deodikar will be produced at a local court in Katrasgarh, Jharkhand on Friday and will be brought to Bengaluru by Saturday on a transit warrant. He will be produced before a city court on Saturday when SIT will seek his custody, sources said.

Of the 20 people named in the charge-sheet, 19 have been arrested. With the arrest of Deodikar, only Vikas Patil alias Nihal alias Dada, another key accused still at large, remains elusive.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:23:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/sit-arrests-key-member-of-gauri-murder-plot/article30526975.ece

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