BENGALURU: The special investigation team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh murder has hit a bump as it has been unable to match the empty cartridges found at her house with those found in connection with the murders of rationalists Dr M M Kalburgi in Karnataka and Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare in Maharashtra. The spent cartridges in those cases are with Scotland Yard for third party opinion.
Sources in the SIT said, “We are looking at whether the same or similar weapon and bullets were used to kill Gauri. In the case of Gauri Lankesh, the forensic lab reports show that 7.65mm bullets were fired from a country-made pistol. We want to analyse this with the other cartridges as well.
“We approached Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but they informed us that the cartridges are with Scotland Yard police to whom the evidence was sent in 2016 for expert opinion. We contacted Scotland Yard police, but we were told that we need to have directions from the court. Now, the SIT will have to take help of the External Affairs Ministry and diplomatic channels to get those cartridges back.”
In February 2016, Anil Singh, an Additional Solicitor General appearing for CBI, told the Bombay High Court that the reports given by Mumbai Forensic Laboratory stated that the same weapon was used in all three murders. However, Karnataka FSL said a different weapon was used in the Kalburgi killing. Based on the court’s direction to seek third party opinion, CBI approached Scotland Yard with the cartridges and other evidence. However, the report is yet to be submitted to the police.
Inspector General of Police B K Singh, who is heading the SIT, said they will approach the court for securing samples from Scotland Yard if necessary. Meanwhile, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Saturday said in Belagavi that the SIT will crack the case and arrest the accused in the Gauri Lankesh case. “The SIT is capable of handling the case and it has collected crucial information. There is no need for a CBI probe. The CBI has not been able to arrest those who killed Narendra Dabolkar and Govind Pansare, how can they be expected to arrest Gauri’s killers?’’ he questioned.