BENGALURU: The special investigation team (SIT) is probing multiple angles in the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh. Apart from the alleged right-wing angle, the team is looking at naxal links as well as any personal feud or property dispute that may have led to the crime.
On Friday, Telangana police joined the probe even as the SIT questioned several people who were constantly in touch with Gauri over the last few months to ascertain the motive behind the killing. Two teams have also been sent to neighbouring states, including Tamil Nadu-Kerala border areas, to gather information about naxal activities and sale of country-made firearms here.
The SIT will also question BJP MLA DN Jeevaraj, who had reportedly stated that Gauri would have been alive had she not written articles against the RSS. His statement came under severe criticism, even as the legislator claimed that it was taken out of context. State Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Friday announced `10 lakh reward for anyone providing information that could help the SIT nab the assailants with the assurance that the informer’s identity will not be revealed.
According to an SIT official, a team of police officials from Telangana who joined the probe are looking at whether any naxal group had any dispute over her initiative to help naxals join the mainstream. With rumours floating that the move did not go down well with some naxals, the team will explore whether they are involved in the murder. “We have made a list of names actively involved in naxal activities and those who wanted to join mainstream,” the source said.
Another officer said there is still no clarity on the number of assailants. The officials, who have been divided into three teams, are analysing phone records and CCTV footage and also tracing supari killers active in the state. Sources said the team is probing personal disputes involving Gauri and the cases filed against her.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad attacked the state government for failing to provide adequate security to her. He also asked whether the journalist was working for the surrender of naxals with the consent of the state government .