MUMBAI: Amol Kale, who allegedly masterminded murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, is a very simple, uncomplicated and a calm person if his neighbours are to be believed. Kale lives in a typical middle-class neighbourhood on Pimpri-Chinchwad Link Road near Pune with his family that includes his wife, a five-year-old son and elderly mother. According to neighbours, his father died recently.
"His son goes to a nearby pre-primary school and the couple follow a very simple lifestyle," a neighbour said. Residents of the Akshay Plaza in Manik Colony whom the New Indian Express contacted said that it is difficult for them to fathom that the simple looking guy staying next-door could have had any role in a heinous act like a murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.
The neighbours, who don't want to be identified, said that very little has been known to the residents of the apartment even though the Kale family has been living there nearly for 15-odd years now. While Amol's father used to run a paan-bidi shop at Pimpri camp area, he did some businesses like trading of small mechanical parts etc for a living, the neighbours said.
According to a few he was an engineer, while others said he had been trading in the stock markets to earn his living. However, all were sure that he never was into a salaried job. The family never mingled amongst the neighbours much, the residents said. They added that while they hardly expected Amol to do that as he used to travel a lot for work and was hardly available at home, his wife too remained aloof even during community programs in the society.
Kale's arrest came as a shocker even for his family. His wife Jagruti is learnt to have said that she doesn't want to discuss the issue with anyone. According to some, Kale was the convenor of the Chinchwad unit of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), a hardliner organization till as close as about two years back.
However, according to the official statement by the HJS he had severed ties with the organization about ten years back."As far as Kale is concerned, he was associated with HJS in Pune till 2008 but had said he would not be able to continue with the organisation due to personal reasons.
So for the last 10 years, he had stopped taking part in organisational activities. He is not in touch with the organisation," said Ramesh Shinde, national spokesperson of the HJS. Banguluru police first arrested Kale on May 21. They conducted a search at his residence on May 23 and then arrested him in the Lankesh murder case on May 31.
Residents of Akshay Plaza also remember his quest for books. "He used to read a lot and also used to pursue others to read. Whenever a van selling books visited the locality Amol accompanied it. He used to refer to it as a library and used to sell books on Hindu and Vedic cultures, the neighbours said.