Months after the death of 55-year-old journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has had a major breakthrough in the case in the form of an arrest. The team who was probing the case since September 5, 2017, the day when senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was killed, arrested 37-year-old K T Naveen Kumar on Friday. According to an Indian Express report, Kumar was first arrested on February 18, by the Bengaluru police on the possession of illegal bullets. He was later named as the first accused in the murder of Gauri Lankesh that took place back on the month of September last year. Kumar is a resident of Maddur in Mandya and was found accused in the murder case while the police was investigating the illegal arms case for which he was arrested in the first place.
The Special Investigation Team arrested K T Naveen Kumar for involvement in the Gauri Lankesh murder case after informing a Bengaluru magistrate’s court that they had found evidence of his involvement in the killing. The evidence was found during probe in the illegal arms case for which Kumar was arrested on February 18. The SIT then sought warrant against Kumar in the murder case shortly after he was taken into judicial custody in the illegal arms case. The team cited voluntary statements by some of Kumar’s friends about his link to the case.
When produced before the chief metropolitan magistrate court, the SIT submitted a sealed envelope of Kumar’s confession statement that proved his involvement in the murder case. A remand plea was presented in the court by Nirmala Rani, an assistant public prosecutor who wanted Kumar to be police custody for eight days in order to unearth the larger conspiracy and materials used in the crime. While talking about the case she was quoted saying, “At present, only one accused has been named. Others will be added after investigations. This suspect was traced on the basis of CCTV footage,” according to Indian Express.
During investigation, it was revealed that Kumar is linked to a radical Hindutva outfit called the Hindu Yuva Sena. It was also found that he is allegedly linked to the members of the Sanatan Sanstha outfit and its affiliate the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.