In a major breakthrough in the journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh murder case, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) carried out its first arrest on Friday afternoon.
KT Naveen Kumar, 37, who was arrested on February 18 by the Bengaluru police for illegal possession of bullets, has been named as the first accused in the case.
The SIT arrested KT Naveen Kumar, of Maddur in Mandya, after informing a magistrate’s court in Bengaluru that it had found evidence of his involvement in the murder of Gauri Lankesh in the course of the investigation of the illegal arms case for which he was arrested on February 18.
The SIT initially sought a warrant for the arrest of KT Naveen Kumar in the case – shortly after he was remanded to judicial custody in the illegal arms case – by citing voluntary statements given by a few of Kumar’s friends about his links to the Gauri Lankesh murder.
The SIT gave the court a sealed copy of a confession statement given by KT Naveen Kumar about his involvement in the murder.
Gauri Lankesh, 55, was shot down with a 7.65 mm country made pistol in the drive way of her home in west Bengaluru on the evening of September 5, 2017.
Lankesh, the Editor of “Lankesh Patrike”, was shot dead by an unidentified man wearing a helmet while the suspect who rode the motorcycle was also not identitfied.
Investigations by the SIT has unearthed CCTV footage of a man conducting a recce of the home of the journalist a few hours before her killing. The physical structure of the man found conducting the recce in the CCTV footage has a close resemblance to that of Kumar.
The Karnataka government had set up the SIT to probe the journalist-activist’s killing.