Rajiv Kalkod|

BENGALURU: Karnataka police’s special investigation team (SIT) on Monday arrested a Marathi-speaking man who is suspected to have shot dead journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh. SIT sources said the suspect was caught in Maharashtra but refused to divulge the location.

“We need to question him before making a comment,” a senior SIT officer told TOI when asked whether the investigation team had indeed caught Gauri’s killer. Elaborating on the suspect picked up by cops in Maharashtra, an SIT source said, “One of our teams picked up the Marathispeaking man in his late 30s. He is 5’1” tall, and weighs about 75-80kg. No pistol or firearms were found on him.”


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The sketches of suspected killers prepared by SIT. The person in top left sketch is said to have shot Gauri

The Forensic Sciences Laboratory that studied the CCTV footage of suspects conducting recce at Gauri’s home in Bengaluru had opined that the bike-borne assailant was about 5’2” or 5’1” tall and weighed 70-80kg. Based on CCTV footage and details gathered during the probe, the SIT has sketches of four suspects, including that of Gauri’s killer (in pic above). The sketches were prepared based on the description provided by Anil Kumar of Srirangapatna, a friend of accused K T Naveen Kumar who has been chargesheeted for his role in providing logistics in the murder case.

Hunt on for member of Goa right-wing group

The SIT had produced Anil Kumar before a local court and had taken his statement under Section 64 of the CrPC, which means it can be used as evidence. As per the chargesheet, Naveen confessed to plotting Gauri’s killing with Praveen. Praveen allegedly sought his help to eliminate rationalist K S Bhagawan, also a target. Cops also picked up Amol Kale from Pune, Amit Degvekar from Sindhudurg and Manohar Yadave from Vijayapura for plotting to kill Bhagawan. All four accused are also under the scanner for their role in Gauri’s murder. Kale’s associate Nihal alias Dada is missing. Police suspect he is the crucial link in the case.

Sources said they are looking for Mohan Gowda, who allegedly introduced Naveen to Praveen at a religious meeting. Gowda is said to be the office-bearer of a frontal organisation of a Goa-based right-wing outfit. Meanwhile, a local court extended his judicial custody by14 days on Monday.