The Maharashtra Police would seek information from its Karnataka counterpart whether Rushikesh Devdikar, arrested in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, was also linked to the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said here on Friday. Personnel of the Karnataka Special Investigation Team, set up to probe Lankesh’s killing, arrested Devdikar alias Murali (44), from Katras near Dhanbad in Jharkhand, on Thursday evening.
Devdikar is accused number 18 in the case, Karnataka police have said. “We will seek information from the Karnataka government on whether there is a link of Devdikar with the murders of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare,” Deshmukh said here. While Lankesh was killed on September 5, 2017 in front of her house in Bengaluru, Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune while he was on a morning walk. Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20.
The Dabholkar case is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), while a state police SIT is investigating the killing of Pansare. Meanwhile, the owner of the shop in Aurangabad, which Devdikar had taken on rent for a couple of years, said he used to sell Ayurveda products there.
Jagdish Kulkarni, owner of the shop located in the Aurangabad’s M2 area, said, “Devdikar used to sell Patanjali products in the shop. He would pay rent on time. He ran the business for about two years- between 2014 and 2016.” Yeshwant Shukla, who had rented his house in Aurangabad to Devdikar, remembers him as a man of few words.
“We rented the house to Devdikar in February 2016. He wanted a house on the ground floor for his elderly parents. At the time of finalising the deal, he stayed here for about one-and-a-half months at a stretch, his longest at this place,” he said. ”
Devdikar then shifted to Solapur, but his parents continued to stay at the house till April 2019. He used to visit the parents once in a while just for a day,” Shukla said. Devdikar’s parents later shifted to Mumbai, where their another son resided, he added. “Rushikesh’s involvement in ther Gauri Lankesh case has come as a shock to all of us,” he said.