Bengaluru, March 2: Almost six months after the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, the Special Investigation Team carried out its first arrest in the case on Friday afternoon. Also Read - Rahul Pleads Not Guilty in Defamation Case, Says Will Fight RSS, BJP Harder
The accused identified as KT Naveen Kumar (37), who was arrested last month by the Bengaluru police officials for illegal possession of firearms, has been named as the first accused in the case. Kumar, a resident of Maddur in Mandya was arrested by the SIT after they informed the magistrate’s court in Bengaluru that they had found Kumar’s involvement in the Gauri Lankesh’s murder. Also Read - Centre should take people's opinion into account before making decisions: Irom Sharmila
Earlier, the SIT sought a warrant for the arrest of Kumar in the Gauri Lankesh case – shortly after he was remanded judicial custody in the illegal arms case – by mentioning the statements given by a few of Kumar’s friends about his links to the Gauri Lankesh murder. Also Read - Don't rely on Gauri Lankesh case, probe killings of Dabholkar, Pansare independently: HC to CBI, CID
When Kumar was produced before the court, the SIT produced a sealed copy of a confession statement given by him about his involvement in the murder of Gauri Lankesh.
Investigations have shown that Kumar had links with radical Hindutva outfit called the Hindu Yuva Sena and that he is also allegedly linked to members of the Sanathan Sanstha outfit.
Police have earlier released three sketches related to Lankesh’s murder case.
On September 5, 2017, the veteran journalist was shot down with a 7.65 mm country-made pistol outside her residence in Bengaluru by an unidentified man wearing a helmet.
She was the editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a tabloid known for “anti-establishment” views.
Following her murder, several protests, across the country and especially in prominent parts of Karnataka, had taken place.