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Nabbed in Lankesh Case, Accused No. 1 is 'Scared for His Life'

KT Naveen Kumar, who was arrested last week for being involved in this murder, is scared for his life and thus not revealing too much about the identity of his accomplices, top police sources told News18.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:March 19, 2018, 6:35 PM IST
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Nabbed in Lankesh Case, Accused No. 1 is 'Scared for His Life'
File photo of Gauri Lankesh.

Bengaluru: There were at least six persons in the plot to kill Gauri Lankesh – and possibly more – and a larger conspiracy is evident in the execution of this murder.

Now, A1 or Accused number 1 in police parlance, KT Naveen Kumar, who was arrested last week for being involved in this murder, is scared for his life and thus not revealing too much about the identity of his accomplices, top police sources told News18.

“We have got some information from him, but we knew he was hiding other information. It was not possible to get that out of him, because he seemed to be genuinely scared for his life. So we decided there was no point in holding him further,” said an officer associated with the probe.

After nearly 13 days in SIT custody, the SIT allowed for his transfer to judicial custody voluntarily on 12th March.

Among the nuggets they have been able to pick up is that the killers came not on one bike (as was originally thought) but two – the main shooter riding pillion with one biker while there was a second bike that first checked whether the coast was clear, then witnessed the murder and later ‘escorted’ the two main culprits away from the area to melt into the traffic.

Sources say they have brought in experts from the Forensic Psychology Division for a profile of Kumar. They also took him to the areas around Lankesh’s home – including the roads that lead up to her home – to get him to identify places, as well as capture real-time images of him on bikes at CCTVs around the area. This reconstruction, the police hope to later tally, with images taken of suspects around the time of the killing – September 5, 2017 – who had allegedly done a recce of the spot twice before the murder on the same day, as well as a few days ahead.

Incidentally, Gauri had spoken to her sister about strangers following her just a few days before her murder – when asked about whether she wanted to file a police compliant she had merely brushed it off saying she would think about it if the same people were seen again.

Kumar was also taken to the public park in the Vijayanagar area in west Bengaluru, where he allegedly met another accomplice to plan out the killing a few days before September 5 – where the plan was worked out.

Police say he was in Bengaluru on the 3rd and 4th of September, but suddenly went back to his home in Birur in Chikmagalur district on the night of 4th September, and took his wife on a trip to Ooty and other places the next day in what seems to be an obviously hasty plan.

Some of the SIT sleuths have questioned his wife too – who works for a government department in Birur – who was suspicious of what he was up to but did not seem to have questioned her husband about his whereabouts.

The SIT is now on a massive manhunt to track down his accomplices based on the leads from his revelations.

His voice analysis is also being done – to cross-check with phone calls that were later tracked.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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