Pistol, only key to solving Gauri murder case

Bengaluru: Five months after she was shot dead by a bike borne assailant outside her house, former editor-cum-activist – Gauri Lankesh's murder remains a mystery till date and will remain one unless the police lay their hands on the weapon – the mysterious 7.65mm country made pistol, which was allegedly used for the cold blooded killing on September 5.

According to police department  sources, though the SIT has got some good leads they are yet to lay their hands on the handlers and that one clinching evidence – the weapon, which killed her. 

"The weapon will end the mystery; whether hers was an ideological or contract killing, whether Gauri's killers had the blood of Prof Narendra Dabholkar, Comrade Govind Pansare and Prof M.M. Kalburgi on their hands or that was a different module," said an official source.
"The pistol which was used to kill Gauri will have the firing pin marks and the gunshot residue of the spent cartridges, which were found at the crime scene. The police need to get the pistol to crack the case. It is the single most important and prosecutable piece of evidence in the murder case," said the ace ballistic expert N.G. Prabhakar.

In the absence of weapon recovery, Gauri's case may unfortunately get archived in the list of perfect and unsolved murder mysteries in Karnataka and the detection of the case could be by chance, say officers, who are privy to the investigation. It is turning out to be the third unsolved assassination case of a public figure since 1996, when the then BJP MLA U. Chittaranjan was killed inside his house, while he was watching television on the fateful night of April 10. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had to face flak, when the court rejected its closure report after nine teams of ace CBI investigators failed to solve the Chittaranjan murder case. On August 30, 2015 Kannada litterateur M.M. Kalburgi was killed in his house by two bike borne assailants. The Criminal Investigation Department, which is probing the Kalburgi case, has hit a wall. Interestingly, all the three victims were killed in or just outside their house.

"The three sensational murder cases have gone undetected because the investigating agencies have failed to get the weapon, which was used in the crime. The firearms may have exchanged many hands for commissioning of multiple crimes across the country. The underground firearms market is huge," said Prabhakar.

He added that Karnataka has a long list of pending murder cases, majority of them are from Bengaluru City and Dakshina Kannada district. In 2010, when Mr. Prabhakar retired from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) Bengaluru as the head of ballistic department, he had given an indent for the much needed equipment – Canada-manufactured – Integrated Ballistics Identification System, or IBIS, which stores the data of all spent cartridges, which were used in multiple crimes, the firing pin impressions, the marks of extractor and ejector. IBIS is a data computer attached to a microscope. It links ballistic information to prior investigations and to the firearms, which were used in the commissioning of multiple crimes but were not recovered during the course of investigation. "IBIS is critical to get information on the previous use of a firearm and spent cartridges. Barring Bengaluru FSL, most of the forensic science laboratories, in Maharashatra, Gujarat, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chandigarh have the ballistic data computer," said Prabhakar.


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