Bengaluru: One contraband 7.65 mm pistol was used to kill four rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka including Gauri Lankesh. The firing pin marks found in the cartridges that were recovered at the scene of crime in the murders of Prof Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, Comrade Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, Prof M.M. Kalburgi in Dharwad and Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru are similar.
This confirms the fact that the same pistol was used in all the four murders and in all probability the mastermind and the motive behind the four sensational assassinations is the same. Unfortunately, the pistol remains untraced till date.
"It must have been remoulded in a blacksmith's furnace after Gauri's murder to kill critical evidence," an official source told Deccan Chronicle. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is investigating the murder of Gauri Lankesh, recently submitted the charge-sheet against KT Naveen Kumar alias Hottey Manja under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 25 of the Arms Act.
Kumar was arrested on March 2 this year for providing logistical support in terms of supplying bullets to Gauri's killers and carrying out surveillance of her home and office.
The charge-sheet has a 12-page voluntary confessional statement of Kumar in which he has allegedly mentioned that Gauri was targeted for her anti-Hindu views. He also added that next on the hit list was well known writer K.S. Bhagwan.
Kumar was taken to Central Forensic Laboratory, Gandhinagar for a narco analysis test after he agreed to it in the court. He however, refused to undergo the brain mapping and lie detector test.
The SIT charge-sheet repeats the findings in the charge-sheet that was submitted by the CBI in September 2016 in the Dabholkar murder case in which the agency had stated that he was killed because of the 'ideological' differences that existed between the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (the anti superstition forum) that he had founded and the HIndu Janajagruti Samiti, the organisation to which the accused — Virendra Tawde owed its allegiance. Kumar also is affiliated to HJS. Tawde was arrested and later released on bail.