Gauri murder probe: renewed focus on right-wing groups

A file photo of the investigators at work outside the residence of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru.

A file photo of the investigators at work outside the residence of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru.  


‘The weapon used to kill the journalist-activist holds the answer to solving the case’

The effort of the coordinated inter-State probe — in Maharashtra and Karnataka — into the killing of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh is to focus on the possibility of right-wing groups being behind the murder, as was the case allegedly in Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar murders and suspected in M.M. Kalburgi murder.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) — probing the murder of Kalburgi and on the lookout for a man named Rudra Patil, suspected to be one of the assailants of the Kannada scholar, — has joined forces with the Special Investigating Team (SIT) looking into the Gauri murder case.

Patil, who is believed to be a member of a right-wing group, is an accused in the 2009 Goa blast case and has been at large since then. There is a renewed effort to track Patil, and his capture could throw more light on the Gauri murder case as well, sources said.

Sleuths are also monitoring several members of a Goa-based right-wing group, allegedly involved in the murder of the two rationalists in Maharashtra, and are looking closely at their movements before and after Gauri’s murder. There is, however, no breakthrough yet, sources said.

The weapon used to kill Gauri holds the answer to solving the the murder case, sleuths said.

Investigation on the weapon is two fold — one, forensic experts trying to determine whether or not the weapon was used in any of the three murders, and two, tracking down the source of the weapon through known illegal gun runners, senior official said.

A team is still combing areas in the tri-junction of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, notorious for illegal running of country-made pistols.

The Karnataka SIT is expected to move trial courts in Maharashtra to seek the custody of the cartridges found at the scenes of Dabholkar and Pansare murder. It has sought the cartridges found at the scene of Kalburgi murder. These cartridges would be compared with those found at the spot where Gauri was killed.

This is after the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report confirmed similarities between the four murders.

The FSL authorities have sought cartridges found at the other crime spots to determine if the very same weapon was used. The FSL authorities had earlier said that two weapons were used in the three murders: one used to kill Dabholkar and another to kill Kalburgi, and both of them used to kill Pansare, clearly linking the three murders.

However, the sleuths were cautious to add that the probe into the Gauri murder had not reached any conclusive stage yet.

“With no solid leads from the scene of crime, the investigation is working towards probing a list of all suspicions and theories, ruling each of them out to narrow down to the most plausible one. We have successfully ruled out some suspects, but not Hindu right wing,” a senior official said.


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 5:48:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/gauri-murder-probe-renewed-focus-on-right-wing-groups/article19694780.ece

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