Gunrunner accused of Gauri murder

Gauri Lankesh

A senior police officer speaking on anonymity told worldwide media that K.T. Naveen Kumar is a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, a group that gained prominence after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party came into power in 2014.

According to police sources, Naveen Kumar had close links with several radical Hindu outfits and was reportedly angry with Lankesh for "insulting" Hindu gods and goddesses. The police have also been able confirm that not only did Naveen know where Gauri lived, he also bore a striking resemblance to the man who was seen in the CCTV footage doing a recce of her place, which further pinned him down. However, after Naveen's arrest, he has gone underground. The government had set up the SIT to probe the journalist-activist's killing. Just because he was in possession of the book does not mean he had links to Sanathan Sanstha.

Kumar's lawyer Vedamurthy argued that he had been in custody for 20 days, and there was no need to extend it.

A native of Mandya district about 100 km from Bengaluru, Naveen Kumar was caught by the organised crime wing of the state police's central crime branch on February 18, 2018.

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. The police are now trying to force a statement out of him and are trying to fix him in the case, he contended.

Kumar's police custody has been extended until 13 March while the next hearing in the case will be on Tuesday (12 March).

Bhagawan is based in Mysuru.

Bengaluru Police on Friday claimed a major breakthrough in the sensational murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had termed the killing of Gauri Lankesh "an onslaught on humanity" and said that his government would ensure that the culprits were brought to justice.

The court has chose to hear the SIT's plea to conduct lie-detector test on Naveen Kumar on March 15.

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