BENGALURU: Gauri Lankesh, a terrific activist and journalist was known for her path-breaking experiments in society. Two years down the line from her assassination, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) cracked the case using a pathbreaking method. Yes. Gauri’s was probably the first case in the country where Artificial Intelligence was effectively used to connect the dots.
In its additional chargesheet in the Gauri Lankesh murder case submitted to the court by the SIT, it is mentioned that Artificial Intelligence systems were used to extract images of suspected persons and vehicles and to compare with the footage obtained from 200 Terabytes of video data from the CCTV cameras installed at major roads and junctions by the Bengaluru city police.
One Terabyte is a minimum of 500 hours time of footage. 200 Terabytes of video data is 1 lakh hour video footage. It’s like watching 50,000 two hour long movies! And, one needs to continuously watch for 11 years to finish those many movies.
Highly placed sources explained that, it was because of the decision to use the Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems that the humanly impossible task was completed. Along with AI, Gate analysis was also put in place. The system identifies the person from body postures. "Each human being has unique signature of body movements. Gate analysis identifies it. It was of great help to nab culprits," explains highly placed source in SIT.
In August 2016, a meeting of the syndicate, the main members identified Gauri Lankesh as a ''durjan'' as told in Kshatra Dharma Sadhana (a holy book for syndicate) based on her speeches and writings. They jointly hatched a conspiracy to finish off Gauri Lankesh. Amol Kale, the king pin instructed his associate Dada @ Nihal to get the whereabouts of Gauri.
In Oct 2016, Amol Kale instructed Vasudev Suryavanshi @ Mechanic to steal a bike. Mechanic stole a Black color Passion Pro bike with the help of Sujith Kumar from Davanagere. In Jan 2017, H L Suresh found Basavanagudi office and residence address of Gauri. In Mar/April 2017 kingpin Amol Kale instructed Amith Baddi and Ganesh Miskin to watch the moments of Gauri Lankesh. They came to Bengaluru several times in two months and watched her movements. They followed her to her residence and stalked her moments to ascertain her daily habits.
In May 2017, Manohar Edave was tasked to do a "recce" of the locality of Gauri's residence in Rajarajeshwarinagar. This was to find out location of CCTV cameras. In June 2017, the assailants team finalised the routes to be taken. In the same month several members of syndicate trained by Rajesh Bangera in Belagavi.
In the first week of Aug. 2017, the team met in Bengaluru. Amith Baddi, Ganesh Miskin, Parashuram Wagmore and Bharath Kurne were designated to be the assassination team. Specific tasks were allotted to them. They were made to memorise the routes which will be taken on execution day. Few days later, accused had rented out a house near Kumbalagodu on the pretext of running an Acupuncture clinic.
In the third week of Aug. 2017, the final preparations were made. Shooting practice was given to assailants. In the beginning of Sept. 2017, kept the stolen bike, pistols, clothes, food articles in the clinic. Next day, assailants reached this place in Kumbalagodu. On Sept. 4, 2017, after arming themselves, Ganesh Miskin rode the bike and took Parashuram Wagmore to the residence of Gauri Lankesh. However, that night they were unsuccessful.
All hell broke loose after the killing of Gauri Lankesh. It became an international issue. Then as per Siddaramaiah government’s order SIT was formed on Sept. 6 headed by then IGP B.K. Singh, who is presently the Secretary to the Government, home department. More than 200 officers and staff of state police were put in place. A core team of 40 personnel was formed.
The SIT took up the investigation in four directions. Separate teams were formed headed by DySP. The first team probed personal probity. The second looked into left wing extremism, third team probed profession related and fourth team focused on right wing extremism related due to her views on Hindutva and related fundamentalist organisations.
Two other sub-teams were entrusted to analyse CCTV footages and to perform technical surveillance and CDR analysis.
The CCTV DVR of the four CCTV cameras from Gauri’s house was seized and analysed. The footage showed one of assailant firing four shots at Gauri Lankesh. Further, CCTV systems within a radius of five kilometres of Gauri’s house were collected and examined minutely for clues.
In the course of investigation, more than 2500 persons were questioned. Based on clues, SIT team on field collected 10,000 suspected bikes from all over state. Owners and users of bikes were examined. The experts in SIT analysed lakhs of cell phone tower dumps and mobile numbers. The first breakthrough was done when the state Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) after analysing forensic ballistics established that the pistol used to murder Gauri was the same used to kill Prof M.M. Kalburgi in Dharwad and Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.
The investigation has revealed that all 18 accused were active members of an organised crime syndicate. The syndicate was formed in the year 2010-11 under the leadership of Dr Virendra Tawade @ Bade Bhaisaab.
Former editor of Sanathan Prabhath provided finance to the syndicate. The group targeted persons who identified to be inimical to their belief and ideology. The members strictly followed the guidelines and principles mentioned in “Kshatra Dharma Sadhana”, a book published by Sanathan Sanstha.
After the arrest of Dr Virendra Tawade in 2016 in connection with murder of Dr Narendra Dhabolkar, the leadership was taken over by Amol Kale.
While recruiting teams, emphasis was given to those with a history of aggression and violence and with criminal background. The members met, conspired and trained at various places in Karnataka and Maharashtra. They always used nick names, assumed names and separate phones other than personal ones.
They were indoctrinated and actively underwent arms training, shooting practice. They were also trained in the manufacture and use of bombs with the intention of promoting insurgency and creating fear in the society....