Gauri case: Search for gun intensifies

SIT suspects it was sourced from an illegal arms dealer in Vijayapura

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has intensified its search for the country-made pistol that was used to kill journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh on September 5. “We are also trying to locate the motorcycle that was used,” an SIT official said.

Though the police suspect that Parashuram Waghmore 26, who was named sixth accused in the case on Tuesday, is the shooter, they are working with the FSL team to see if the evidence corroborates his statement. He claimed that he was assigned the job of killing Gauri by Amol Kale, another accused.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of Waghmore misguiding us to hamper our investigation,” said the officer. According to sources, Waghmore told investigators that he does not remember where the weapon is, but also said that he had handed it over to one of his associates.

The SIT suspects that the accused procured the pistol from an illegal arms dealer in a village in Vijayapura bordering Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Finding the murder weapon used to kill Gauri is a priority for the SIT as the FSL report confirmed that the same weapon had ended the life of rationalist M.M. Kalburgi in 2015. The bullets in both cases have been fired through a single country-made pistol chambered for 7.65 mm caliber pistol cartridges, noted the report.

The police reconstructed the crime scene and escorted Waghmore to a house in Magadi Road, which he had taken on rent. The SIT officials have also recorded the statement of the landlord.

Team in Maharashtra

Another team is currently in Maharashtra trying to trace the two-wheeler rider. “We suspect that more than one person has been on the run since we arrested Naveen Kumar. Their arrest could lead us to the weapon and the vehicle,” said another police officer. Naveen was the first man to be arrested in the case.

During the course of investigation, it was found that the accused had prepared a list of eight people to target and Gauri was on top of the list. They had also allegedly planned to kill writer and rationalist from Mysuru K.S. Bhagavan before the Assembly elections.

However, after the arrest of Naveen, the other accused went underground, the source added.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:26:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/gauri-case-search-for-gun-intensifies/article24157150.ece

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