SIT makes its first arrest in Gauri Lankesh murder case

Gauri Lankesh

Gauri Lankesh

Kumar, who hails from Birur town in Chikkamagaluru district, was arrested on February 18 by the SIT of Karnataka Police after he was identified with the help of CCTV footage.

He was earlier taken into custody on March 2nd and after interrogation.

The police officer said Kumar has been apprehended on Friday on suspicion of providing weapons used to kill Lankesh.

According to the charge sheet, Naveen Kumar is not the No 1 accused in the case.

After the arrest of KT Naveen Kumar, who is suspected to have provided arms and logistical support for the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, the Special Investigation Team probing the case now suspects that the group's next target was rationalist KS Bhagwan. The SIT had Naveen ride a bike in its custody. She was shot dead outside her residence in Bengaluru's Rajarajeshwarinagar on September 5, 2017.

The 3rd Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate has given the SIT custody of Kumar for 5 days. An SIT officer involved in the probe countered, "If Naveen Kumar is not associated with Sanatan Sanstha, and is an insignificant person, why have all these lawyers been sent to fight on his behalf?" She was the editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a tabloid known for "anti-establishment" views.

It is suspected that Naveen provided logistics to the killer by conducting a recce around Lankesh's house on September 3 and 5 a year ago. Just because he was in possession of the book does not mean he had links to Sanathan Sanstha. The investigations in the Upparpet case has shown that Kumar, during conversations about guns and ammunition with some of his friends from Maddur, alluded to his links to the murder of Lankesh.

Naveen reportedly came to Bengaluru from Mandya a couple of days before the murder to collect the package.

The SIT has made a decision to transfer the case of Kumar's plot to eliminate K S Bhagawan to the Mysuru police.

The Karnataka government later formed a 21-member SIT, led by Inspector General of Police B K Singh, to investigate the case.

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