Bengaluru: The accused, who have been arrested in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, were “kidnapped” by the police before they were shown arrested, charged advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, president of ‘Hindu Vidhidnya Parishada’ (HVP), who is assisting the accused with legal aid.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Virendra charged the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of “kidnapping” the accused Sujeet alias Praveen (37) an alleged Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) activist from Mangaluru, Amol Kale alias Bhaisab, 39, also an alleged HJS activist from Pune, Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep, 39, a Sanatan Sanstha activist and resident of Goa, and Manohar Edave, 28, a resident of Vijayapura in Karnataka.
“All these men were illegally detained by the SIT much before their arrest was shown. Sujeet was picked up from coastal Karnataka on May 6, but his arrest was shown from Kolar on May 20. Amol and Amit were detained in Kagal in Kolhapur district on Maharashtra-Karnataka border on May 14. Edave was picked up from Kolhapur the same day, but the arrest of the three was shown on May 20 and 21 in Bengaluru. They were in illegal custody of the SIT before their arrest,” alleged Ichalkaranjikar.
He said, “The Karnataka SIT is working on the same lines as the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), which during its investigation of the 2008 Malegaon blast case had illegally detained Sadhvai Pragya and Sudhakar Chaturvedi before showing their arrest.”
He alleged that the SIT has “foisted” false cases the conspiracy to eliminate writer K.S. Bhagawan and Gauri murder on the accused as an “excuse” to extend their police custody. “After the Bhagawan
conspiracy, now they are saying that they could be involved in the murder of Prof M.M. Kalburgi. The SIT has held the accused in illegal and legal custody for so long that by now they should have extracted all information from them and solved the the Gauri murder case if they were really involved. The initial FIR, which was registered against them in Upparpete police station in the Bhagawan conspiracy case under the Arms Act case was a ploy by the police to extend the police custody. The case is bogus,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chetan Rajhans, spokesperson of ‘Sanatan Sanstha,’ which is under the scanner, said that barring Amit Degwekar, who was the promoter of ‘Sanatan Prabha’ – the SS
magazine – none of the other accused were linked to the organisation. “Degwekar is a promoter of ‘Sanatan Prabha’ and he used to tour a lot for its promotion. He used to come to the ashram in Ponda, in South Goa in connection with his work. The Sanstha is involved in the spiritual enhancement of Hindus. We are not killers. There is no connection between the Sanatan Sanstha and Gauri murder. We didn’t know her. It is a political conspiracy to target the SS. “The Sanstha is blamed for the murder of any atheist or Communist in the country because our presence affects their functioning and business. Gauri was an atheist and she was killed when Siddaramaiah, who is an atheist, was the chief minister. It’s high time the main players behind the conspiracy to tarnish the Sanstha are exposed,” said Rajhans.