Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT makes first arrest

Police standing guard at the house of Gauri Lankesh

A senior police officer said that Kumar was heading the Hindu Yuva Sena's Maddur unit and had booked a marriage hall in Mandya to hold a huge gathering with Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which is a sister concern of Goa-based Sanathan Sanstha.

Subsequently after interrogation, the SIT probing Lankesh's murder took Naveen into their custody + on March 2 to question him.

A source close to the investigation told TNM, "During the course of investigation, we have had reason to believe that the group which is suspected of killing Gauri Lankesh was planning to kill KS Bhagwan next". Accused Naveen Kumar had objected to undergoing this test when he was in the custody of the SIT.

The SIT had taken Naveen into custody in Kempegowda Bus Station (Majestic) on February 18 after they found a.32 bore rifle and 15 live cartridges. The shooter and his accomplice reportedly took a route from Nayandahalli towards PES College campus and then took a right turn to reach the rear side of Gauri's residence at Ideal Home Layout from where they positioned themselves to ambush Gauri when she returned home from work. We have submitted some evidence gained during investigation in a sealed envelope to the court, which is why the court extended the date of Naveen Kumar's custody with the police.

In an interview to Reuters in 2015, the members of the Sanatan Sanstha said they were preparing for the advent of a divine Hindu kingdom in India.

Gauri, 55, was the outspoken editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, which was known for its frank editorials.

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It is suspected that Naveen provided logistics to the killer by conducting a recce around Lankesh's house on September 3 and 5 previous year.

After going through the murder cases of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi, the bullets used to kill Gauri match only with the one used in the killing of Kalburgi.

Kumar's family has maintained that he was innocent and in no way connected to the case.

Gauri Lankesh was a respected senior journalist and a well-known critic of right-wing forces. The court, however, granted him bail in the arms case.

Investigations by the SIT has unearthed CCTV footage of a man conducting a recce of the home of the journalist a few hours before her killing.

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