Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT releases sketches of prime suspects
The SIT probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has released sketches of two main suspects. "Two male suspects have been identified based on information from our technical team and information from locals," said SIT chief BK Singh. However, there are three sketches as they have been drawn based on different accounts. Cops also said that her murder was not related to her professional career.
Senior journalist, activist, and dissenter Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru today. According to preliminary reports, three men on a motorbike emptied seven rounds at her while she was unlocking her main door. The motive behind the killing remained unknown. The city police commissioner had assured that special teams would be given the job of nabbing the assailants.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has announced a 21-member SIT led by Inspector-general BK Singh and assisted by DCP MN Anucheth to probe the "organized crime". He says he's open to a CBI probe as demanded by Gauri's family, but is "confident" the assailants would be caught. Though there were suggestions to get the CID involved, the CM reportedly shot them down.
A preliminary analysis of the bullets found in Lankesh's murder found that they are from a similar pistol used to kill scholar MM Kalburgi in 2015. There were also similarities in style: in both cases, assailants arrived on motorcycles and killed them outside their homes. Later, it emerged that the same gun may have been used in the killing of rationalists Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar too.
Eventually, five names associated to the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha emerged as key suspects. Four of them have Interpol Red Notices against them for their alleged involvement in earlier crimes. All five are absconding. Four were earlier linked to an October'09 blast in Madgaon (Goa) which killed two. Three were linked to the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi.
Police have ruled out professional career as a motive of the murder. "All other angles including personal are still open." Both suspects are between 25-35 years of age, Singh said. "Before committing the crime, the suspects had stayed in the city at least for a week." Singh also called the public to provide information. Earlier, the government offered Rs. 10L reward for anyone providing clues.