BENGALURU: Two days after the arrest of 50-year-old Mohan Naik, the seventh accused arrested in connection with the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, two more were nabbed for allegedly playing a prominent role in destroying the evidence. The accused, Amit Baddi (27) and Ganesh Maskin (27), both from Hubballi, were picked up from their hometown on Sunday. According to a source in the Special Investigation Team, details revealed by Naik led to their arrest. One more accused Nihal alias Dada is yet to be secured.
The SIT produced Baddi and Maskin before the 3rd ACMM Court on Monday which remanded them to 14 days' police custody. Advocate N. Amrutesh argued the case on behalf of the two accused. The SIT officials interrogating Naik, Baddi and Maskin believe that the arrest of the trio can help solve the case. The SIT source said that Baddi and Maskin knew about the pistol and bike used in the crime and they destroyed the evidence after Hindutva outfit leader K.T. Naveen Kumar was arrested in connection with the murder.
"Baddi and Maskin's involvement in Gauri's murder is ascertained. We are interrogating the duo to learn their exact role in the case. We suspect that they have destroyed the murder weapon and the bike used to commit the crime and were part of the murder conspiracy," the source said. With Baddi and Maskin, the total number of arrests in the case has reached nine. Naveen Kumar alias Hotte Manja, Amol Kale, Manohar Yavade, Sujeeth Kumar alias Praveen and Amit Degvekar, Parashuram Waghmore and Mohan Naik, all having links with right-wing organisations, are the other arrested.
The SIT believes that the cracking of Gauri's murder will help in solving the murders of Dr M.M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, as the accused suspected to have been involved in those murders either directly or indirectly.
SIT to take accused to Belagavi, Goa
While seeking the custody of Baddi and Maskin, the SIT officials submitted that there is strong suspicion that the accused knew about the murder weapon and the bike, and may have destroyed them. The court was told that the accused were part of the murder conspiracy and that they needed to be taken to Mangaluru, Belagavi and Goa where the conspiracy was hatched for the murder.