SIT makes its first arrest in Gauri Lankesh murder case

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) named K T Naveen Kumar (37) as an accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case after confirming that he had conducted a recce near her house before she was shot dead.

The SIT also charged Kumar with plotting to assassinate Mysuru-based writer and rationalist K S Bhagawan.

Armed with the information, the SIT produced Kumar before the 3rd Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on Friday.

The SIT officials submitted documents in a closed envelope to the court on conspiracy charges against Kumar with an arms case and sought to extend his custody as they have to take him to several places as part of the investigation.

The advocate representing Kumar opposed further custody and submitted that Kumar had already spent 20 days in police custody. The police are now trying to force a statement out of him and are trying to fix him in the case, he contended.

The magistrate considered the SITs request and extended his police custody by five days till March 13. Kumar has been in SIT custody since March 2.

The SIT officials on Friday named two accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case and submitted details of the second accused who is yet to be arrested.

Meanwhile, the public prosecutor sought permission to subject Kumar to a narco analysis test as he is not forthcoming with information. The officials also alleged that Kumar is misleading the investigation with baseless answers to the investigation officers. Hearing the submission, the magistrate reserved the order to March 12.

A senior police officer said that Kumar was heading the Hindu Yuva Senas Maddur unit and had booked a marriage hall in Mandya to hold a huge gathering with Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which is a sister concern of Goa-based Sanathan Sanstha.

The Upparpet police arrested four people on charges of dealing with illegal arms and during their interrogation, they revealed vital information about Kumars involvement in the illegal arms trade.

Later, Kumar was arrested by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) on February 18 in Upparpet based on a tip-off that he was dealing in arms. He had come to meet one his contacts near Kempegowda Bus Station to hand over a few rounds of ammunition, the police said. The CCB seized 15 cartridges of 0.32 calibre from him.

The SIT has decided to transfer the case of Kumars plot to eliminate K S Bhagawan to the Mysuru police.

A senior police officer said Kumar had conspired with his associate to kill Bhagwan. They also had several meetings and even held target practice in isolated places in the Chamarajanagar forest range. He also did a recce near Bhagawans house. The SIT has sufficient evidence to prove the conspiracy.

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