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Kannada Editor Arrested for Murder Plot Sent His Office Boy to Identify Target's House

Police say the motive could be personal. Sunil Heggaravalli — his colleague and intended target — had apparently come "too close" to Belagere's second wife.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:December 9, 2017, 11:39 AM IST
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Kannada Editor Arrested for Murder Plot Sent His Office Boy to Identify Target's House
File photo of Ravi Belagere (Photo: Ravi Belagere, Facebook)
Bengaluru: Ravi Belagere — the beleagured editor of Kannada tabloid ‘Hi Bangalore’ arrested over allegations of hiring a hit-man to kill his former colleague — is known for the melodramatic content in his tabloid, especially when it comes to crime coverage.

A man with a fascinating past, one who had come up the hard way, who had struggled doing odd jobs in his youth and rose to start his own (rather colourful) paper.

On Friday, he was arrested for allegedly hiring a sharp shooter to kill a former colleague. Belagere had even sent his office boy with this shooter, to show him the home of the intended target.

Crime Branch Police, who arrested Belegere for attempt to murder, say that Belagere hired one Shashidhar Mundewadi, infamous for such jobs, to carry out this task. He even gave him a gun, four rounds of ammunition and a knife to carry out this errand.

Police say the motive could be personal. Sunil Heggaravalli — his colleague and intended target — had apparently come "too close" to Belagere's second wife.

However, the murder could not be carried out in its first attempt a few days ago. The hired killers had returned the gun saying they will make a second attempt after some time.

Belagere, who has been granted police custody by a city magistrate, is also unwell. Six months ago, when he was summoned to the Karnataka Assembly Speakers office in a breach of privilege case, he could barely walk and had two people supporting him to stand up.

"We are in touch with Heggaravalli and he is aware of the threat to his life. We will provide him with security," said a CCB official.

What the CCB also says is that the sharp shooter he hired — Mundewadi — has a criminal record of murder and robbery cases dating back to 2006.

It was gun dealer Tahir Hussain who had given the police a lead on Mundewadi and he had in turn ratted out his 'employer'.

"These are illegal weapon cases that the SIT probing the killing of Gauri Lankesh has also been tracking. One leads to the other and he too could lead us to others," said Bangalore Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar.

Interestingly, Belagere had plotted the murder on August 28, a week before Lankesh was killed in front of her home. Police say the accused had even offered the killers "whatever amount they wanted" to finish off Heggaravalli and paid an advance amount of Rs 15,000.

CCB raided Belagere’s office at 1.30pm after getting a warrant from a magistrate. They recovered a revolver with 53 live bullets, one used bullet, a deer skin, one double barrel gun with 41 live bullets, and a large tortoise skin.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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