We shot him in the head; they couldn’t catch us

Bike rider who took shooter to Gauri Lankesh’s house was told…

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It’s official – had Karnataka CID police done its job thoroughly after the murder of Professor MM Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh would have been alive. The CID’s callous approach (even the Supreme Court used some harsh words for the CID) in the Kalburgi murder case not only delayed justice, it emboldened the killers, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) charge-sheet shows.

Documents accessed exclusively by Bangalore Mirror show that Amol Kale, commander of the Karnataka module, boasted about the ‘Kalburgi event’ (they used the code ‘event’ for murder) and how they got away with it to instil confidence among new recruits.

“We had another event recently. Our people walked up to his house, knocked on the door and fired at his forehead from point blank range. Even then nothing happened to us. She (Gauri) should also be killed in the same way. Our work is divine and we are protected by the Gods,” states Ganesh Miskin in his statement included in the Gauri Lankesh case charge-sheet. Though the statement does not mention Professor Kalburgi by name but the instance Kale was referring to has been established as his murder in 2015.

Miskin, the third accused in Gauri’s murder case, has also claimed that Kale used to tell them that the police were unable to trace their operatives even after their facial features got covered on a security camera during the operation. But again he uses it as an example to reiterate the ‘divine protection’ that their operatives had while fighting for their religion.

“They were not wearing monkey caps properly and got captured on the camera. The police even sent the footage to some foreign country for analysis. But they had no luck,” reads the statement.

Two months after this conversation, Miskin was told by Kale that he would be the bike rider and would have to take the shooter Parashuram Waghmare to Gauri’s house.

Ganesh Miskin’s past

The SIT charge-sheet claims that Ganesh Miskin (27) was initially involved with the Bajrang Dal in Hubballi. Miskin allegedly told the SIT that he was deeply interested in his religion and was very spiritual. He claims that he came in touch with Manohar Edave, one of Kale’s main recruiter in Karnataka in 2012, at a Hindu Shakti Sangama event in Vijaypura. Miskin was engaged in incense manufacturing and supply business and also used to repair incense making machines.

Love Jihad, cow slaughter, religious conversion

In 2012, Miskin opened a juice stall at Akshay Park in Hubballi and Edave would frequently visit him with CDs of love jihad, cow slaughter and religious conversions happening in the country to highlight the threat faced by Hinduism. Miskin’s statement claims that Edave used to give the propaganda CDs to 20-25 youngsters like him in old Hubballi area.

“We used to have a meeting every week to motivate us to protect our religion. We were also asked to oppose Valentine’s Day and New Year celebrations,” reads the statement.

In 2013, Miskin was arrested by Kasba Peth police station for rioting during a Shivaji Jayanti Rally in Hubbali. Along with his friend and co-accused Amit Baddi and other recruits, he was asked to meditate and chant to become stronger than the ‘Dhram Drohis’ (traitors of religion).

In April 2015, Miskin met Kale near Hubballi glass house along with Baddi and both of them were asked to carry out target practice with air guns.

“We asked him why did we have to do it. Kale said he would let us know when the right time comes,” Miskin told the SIT. Kale also asked them to draw up a list of people who target the Hindu religion publicly.

Target Gauri Lankesh

In 2017, Kale told Miskin that Gauri Lankesh was a fierce critic of their religion and she had even made some inappropriate remarks about Lord Shiva and Parvati in some of her articles and needed to be taught a lesson. He also told Miskin that Hinduism would not survive in such circumstances and something had to be done. So he handed Misking and Baddi a piece of paper with Gauri’s residence and office address in Bengaluru and asked them to tail her and track her daily routine. It has also been claimed that Kale gave Miskin Rs 2,000 to buy a basic model mobile phone. Miskin came to Bengaluru along with Baddi and conducted a recce thrice.

‘We will not get justice’

In August 2017, Kale summoned Miskin, Baddi and Waghmare to Belagavi and then asked them to go to the residence of Suresh in Seegahalli. Miskin was told that though there were many cases against Gauri Lankesh for defaming their religion, nothing positive has come out of them and it was time to take matters into their own hands.

“I was told that I would ride the bike and Waghmare would shoot Gauri Lankesh. I was also a back-up shooter in case Waghmare failed to pull the trigger,” Miskin told SIT.

They also conducted three rehearsals on a bike and were cautioned against coming too close to Gauri’s house as it was under CCTV coverage.

Miskin’s statement at one point claims that Kale had influenced him so much psychologically that he was under his control and could do anything for Kale.

An SOP for Gauri Killers

On September 3, Miskin and Baddi arrived at Bengaluru but Kale told them that a new base was arranged for them at a rented house in Kumbalgodu. Kale had also purchased new set of shirts pants, jackets, helmets and monkey caps for Miskin and Waghmare. A final rehearsal was also carried out.

Kale also laid down an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the shooter and bike rider.

“We were asked to start from our base at 6 pm and then head along the prescribed route. We were supposed to halt near Chinmaya School on the way and change our clothes. We were also supposed to check our pistols. While returning after killing her, we were supposed to halt at the same spot and change our clothes again. Baddi would be waiting for us nearby and we were to hand over the guns and clothes to him,” the charge-sheet states. They also used to meditate for two hours before heading out for their task. Miskin was also instructed to always ride close to the central median of the road or behind any big vehicle so as to minimise chances of them getting recorded on traffic and security cameras.

Missed on Sep 4, almost missed next day too

Waghmare and Miskin reached the Rajarajeshwari Nagar residence of Gauri at 7.45 pm on September 4; as per their info, she used to reach home at 8 pm. However, after waiting for 15 minutes they sneaked up to Gauri’s house avoiding the camera and found that her car was already parked inside. They were then asked to strike the next day.

On the D-Day, they followed the same routine but got delayed and reached Gauri’s residence at 7:50 pm just as Gauri was driving into the lane of her house. Miskin overtook the car and took a U-turn after Waghmare got off – he pumped four bullets into her and both escaped. They met Baddi at the designated spot and handed over their clothes. Kale had asked them to reach Belagavi on September 7 where the group members distributed sweets and Kale handed out some chocolates to Miskin for murdering Gauri Lankesh.

‘We have one more task’

In November 2017, another training session was conducted at Belagavi. After Naveen Kumar’s arrest in February 2018, Kale asked Baddi and Miskin to flee to Sarget in Pune. Miskin says that they used to constantly ask him about Naveen Kumar’s arrest and Kale had told him that he should not be bothered about it.

“They (cops) will never reach us. You just carry on with your meditation and yoga. Soon we will have one more task for you,” Kale told Miskin.

Prof MM Kalburgi was shot in the head at the door of his house in Dharwad

Kale’s 10 commandments for shooters

1 Always carry route map

2 Leave base at 6 pm

3 Tyre pressure of the bike should be checked

4 Petrol tank should be always be full

5 Always wear a helmet

6 The rider should never get down from the bike

7 The engine should be revved up and the vehicle should be in gear

8 Change clothes midway to the target

9 Ensure there is enough money in the pocket

10 Check the gun