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First Arrest in Gauri Lankesh Case, Police Name Alleged Bullet Supplier in Custody as Accused No.1

Opposing the bail plea of KT Naveen Kumar alias ‘Hotte Manja’, the government advocate informed a court that the police need to interrogate him further.

D P Satish, Deepa Balakrishnandp_satish

Updated:March 9, 2018, 6:14 PM IST
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First Arrest in Gauri Lankesh Case, Police Name Alleged Bullet Supplier in Custody as Accused No.1
File photo of KT Naveen Kumar alias "Hotte" Manja, who has given the police some vital information which may help them in nabbing the killers of Gauri Lankesh. (Image courtesy: Facebook)
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Bengaluru: The Karnataka Police have arrested KT Naveen Kumar in the Gauri Lankesh murder case and identified him as “accused number one” in the ongoing probe.

Opposing the bail plea of KT Naveen Kumar alias ‘Hotte Manja’, the government advocate informed a court that the police need to interrogate him further.

The government advocate also gave details of the investigation to the court in a sealed cover, marking a major development in the sensational case.

The police also wanted permission from the court to carry out lie detector test, brain mapping and narco test on the "accused". The court though posted the matter for deciding whether tests can be allowed for March 12. Police sources say, Naveen has named an accomplice and efforts are on to nab the person.

Earlier, SIT, tasked with probing Lankesh murder case, had Naveen in its custody for questioning, which ended today. The police, thereafter, sought time from court for further questioning. The court allowed the custody till March 15.

Gauri Lankesh, 55, the editor of Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead outside her residence in Bengaluru’s southwestern suburb on September 5 last year. Of the seven bullets fired, three hit Lankesh — two in the chest and one in the forehead.

The BJP has alleged that the state’s Congress government is trying to “pin the murder” on Naveen Kumar because of his affiliation with Hindutva organisations. Party MP Shobha Karandalaje had alleged that the Siddaramaiah government was implicating Kumar “to make the BJP look bad before Karnataka elections”.

Kumar was arrested by the Bengaluru Police near the main bus terminus at Majestic area a few days ago. A local court had sent him to the custody of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder case.

According to police sources, Naveen Kumar has close links to several radical Hindu outfits and was reportedly angry with Lankesh for "insulting" Hindu gods and goddesses.

Kumar belongs to Birur, a small town in south Karnataka’s Chikkamagalur district, and had allegedly trained two other suspects Abhi and Ani in shooting. He allegedly made trips to Pune and Mumbai to procure and sell guns.

Police suspect that either Kumar was directly involved in Gauri Lankesh’s murder or had supplied weapons to the killers. One of the men caught on the CCTV cameras at Lankesh’s house bears resemblance to him, the sources claim.

The police also reportedly recovered a .32 bore rifle and 15 live cartridges from Kumar.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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