‘Kalaskar had set up base in Belagavi between 2015-17’

Gauri Lankesh

Gauri Lankesh  

He emerges key suspect in Kalburgi, Gauri murder cases

Sharad Kalaskar, who was first arrested by the Maharashtra ATS and later by the CBI and suspected to be one of the gunmen involved in the murder of Narendra Dabholkar, has now emerged as a key suspect in both the M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh murder cases.

The probe by the Special Investigation Team revealed that Kalaskar was based out of Belagavi for two years between 2015 and 2017 when Kalburgi and Gauri were assassinated. Investigators say that Bharath Kurne, an accused in the Gauri case, who is also from Belagavi, allegedly helped Kalaskar set up base in the city by renting out a house.

Lathe factory

Kalaskar is known to have set up a lathe factory in Belagavi where he manufactured at least five country-made pistols for the gang, apart from a few spare parts, all of which were seized by the Maharashtra ATS in August. Sources said Amol Kale, a key member of the organisation that orchestrated the hits on the rationalists, wanted to use one of the pistols for the hit on Gauri.

Kalaskar allegedly test-fired them in Bharat Kurne’s farm only to find that none of them was in perfect working condition. This forced them to rely on the pistol that they had used in the previous murders.

A senior CID official said Belagavi was the likely base and getaway for the gang and hence the role of Kalaskar cannot be ruled out in the murder of M.M. Kalburgi.

“There are lot of commonalities to the four murders that is not limited to the pistols: the modus operandi, the plotters, possibly even the vehicles. We suspect more than two vehicles were used in Kalburgi murder, just like in the Gauri murder,” said a senior CID official.

Vasudev Suryavamshi alias ‘Mechanic’, who was arrested by the Maharashtra ATS is a “skilled two-wheeler lifter” and is suspected to have provided stolen bikes to the hit teams behind the Gauri and Kalburgi murders.

CID secures custody of two accused in Gauri case

The CID has secured custody of Ganesh Miskin, 27, and Amit Baddi, 27 who hail from Hubballi and were part of the core team that killed Gauri. Miskin had reportedly confessed to have done a recce of Kalburgi’s Dharwad residence before his murder with Amit Baddi, while in the custody of SIT.

However, a CID official said they were not taking their confession at face value and were probing for corroborative evidence. SIT sources said though Miskin had confessed to only being involved in a recce, they suspected he played a larger role.

The SIT probe has also indicated that Kale, and other accused in the Gauri case, Amit Degwekar and Rajesh Bangera, were also key players in the Kalburgi murder conspiracy. A senior CID official said they will take custody of the three for the Kalburgi case after they finish interrogating Miskin and Baddi.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 7:08:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/kalaskar-had-set-up-base-in-belagavi-between-2015-17/article24981293.ece

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