Bengaluru: Two main suspects have been identified in the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, officers of a Special Investigation Team set up to probe the case said on Saturday and released three sketches.
Two of these sketches are based on different descriptions of the same suspect.
“We got some leads from the CCTVs outside Gauri Lankesh’s home. We are investigating all angles. We have so far found no link to the Dabholkar murder. There is also no confirmation on whether weapons used were the same as that in Kalburgi murder,” BK Singh, who is heading the SIT told reporters.
He was referring to murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi, who were allegedly killed by members of Right-wing groups.
He added that one of the suspects sported a ‘tilak’ on his forehead, but that might have been done to “mislead” investigators.
“We investigated 200-250 people in connection with the case. The suspects we zeroed in on are between 25 and 30 years old,” Singh said.
The SIT has also released the footage from CCTV cameras outside Lankesh’s house which shows the suspected killers carrying out a recce of the area.
Gauri Lankesh, the editor of Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead outside her residence in Bengaluru on September 5 by unidentified assailants.
Her supporters have since alleged that her killing was the result of a vendetta by Right-wing groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for writing against the group in her tabloid.
The killing bore a resemblance to the murder of noted Kannada scholar-cum-rationalist MM Kalburgi two years ago. Kalburgi, 77, was shot dead on August 30, 2015, in his house at Dharwad in the state's northern region, by unidentified men, who still remain unidentified despite a massive hunt and Rs 5 lakh reward.
Earlier this month, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had said the Special Investigation Team had got "some clues" on Gauri Lankesh’s killers and knows who is behind the crime but is waiting to gather more concrete evidence.
The 150-member SIT is headed by Inspector General of Police BK Singh with Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) MN Anucheth as its main Investigation Officer.
The state government had announced Rs 10 lakh reward to anyone giving information leading to the killers.