Bengaluru: It’s one month since journalist, editor cum activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by some unknown assailants outside her house on September 5 but besides the fact that the contraband multiple-shot semi automatic 7.65mm pistol that was used to bring her down was reportedly bought from near Zalki checkpost bordering Maharashtra in Vijayapura district, there has been no breakthrough in the case so far.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing Gauri’s murder case, has reportedly got some “good leads on the identity of one of the assailants, but it is premature to say with certainty that they have identified the right man, who had emptied the three bullets in her that fateful evening. The team seems to be on the right track but they need to be lucky because in the past, several good leads had gone dry and investigation had hit a wall. At this juncture luck also has to favour the SIT in their countrywide hunt for Gauri’s killers. The available evidence should lead to him,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.
Zalki checkpost is notorious for its underground market for illegal firearms. The contraband firearms are smuggled in from Uttar Pradeh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar to Zalki via Solapur in Maharashtra and sold in the grey market to criminals from West and South India. They disappear in the wilderness, often without a footprint,” said the officer. The SIT team had last month visited Zalki and the Government Ordnance Factory in Khadki in Pune, which manufactures the bullets for licensed firearms.
Will prisoners squeal? Rs 10 lakh cash award alert
According to sources, word has been spread to all prisons in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa that credible information leading to arrest of Gauri’s killers will make the informer richer by a hefty cash reward of Rs 10 lakh. “The prisons have been sounded out on the Rs 10 lakh reward by the State government. Prisoners are a perennial and many a times, credible sources of information for the law enforcement agencies, which keep tapping them for their use,” said another officer, who didn’t wish to be named.
The State government is under pressure to have the case solved at the earliest and has given a free hand to the SIT to use the best possible available resources; human and technology, to crack the case and bring Gauri’s killers to justice at the earliest....