Man who ‘sold’ bike to Gauri Lankesh's killers detained

The bike was allegedly financed by Sanatan Sanstha, now under close watch of the SIT, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) teams.

Published: 31st August 2018 05:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2018 05:27 AM   |  A+A-

Late senior journalist Gauri Lankesh (File photo)

Express News Service

BENGALURU:The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, has detained a man from Ganeshpura in Belagavi on Wednesday on the charge of selling the bike used in the crime. Sagar Lakhe is the arrested.

“Sagar owns a nursery in Ganeshpura. Interrogation of Bharath Kurne gave the link to Sagar and we found there were many telephonic conversations between the two. The duo belonged to a Kolhapur-based Hindutva fringe group Shiv Prathishtan and was in Bengaluru on the previous day and on the day of the killing,” an officer said.

The bike was allegedly financed by Sanatan Sanstha, now under close watch of the SIT, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) teams. Confirming a well-planned murder, whose mastermind Amol Kale — also known as Bhaisab — had raised two teams to target Gauri, one with Sudhanva Gondalkar and Sharad Khalaskar, and the other with Ganesh Miskin and Parashuram Waghmore.

Plan was to kill Gauri on Sept 4, but killers didn’t get an opportunity: Cops

Amol Kale’s diary and interrogation clearly showed the original date planned for Gauri’s killing was September 4.However, when the first team visited her house, Gauri was apparently inside the house already and hence they could not finish the ‘task’. Later, Kale who was not confident of the first team decided to send the second team. The SIT also recovered a CCTV footage near Sunrise Residency Apartments which shows Sudhanva Gondalkar and anotherhelmet-borne man, whom the team believes to be Sharad Khalaskar. The same men arrived at Gauri’s house twice once on September 4 to kill her and on September 5 around 3.45 pm to see if she was home or not. “The duo was on a different bike near a park next to Gauri’s house,” said the officer.

The SIT petitioned the court to gain custody of Gondalkar and Khalaskar to interrogate them. The two were among five arrested by Maharashtra’s ATS earlier in August in Nalasopara.The ATS had uncovered a huge cache of arms, including IEDs,pistols and equipment to build crude bombs.

The SIT believes the pistol used to kill Gauri may be one of the 18 seized by the ATS. Sleuths suspect the one with Sachin Andure, recovered from his cousin Rohit Reghe in Aurangabad, could be the one used in the crime. “We have the CCTV footage which clearly showed a Pulsar bike that was used in the crime. The footage shows the same bike present on two days near Gauri’s house — once on September 4 in the afternoon when Gauri was already inside the house, and on September 5 when she was killed,” an officer confirmed.

Tawde mastermind behind Dhabolkar murder?

The SIT team suspects Dr Virendrasinh Tawde to be the mastermind behind Narendra Dhabolkar’s killing.
It is alleged that the group wanted to recruit members from various pro-Hindutva outfits and a separate outfit was conceptualised to kill anyone indulging in anti-Hindutva talk, write-ups or comments. Amol Kale, a close aide of Tawde, took up the role of heading operations and managed the killings of Govind Pansare and Professor MM Kalburgi, besides Gauri Lankesh.

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