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Probe finds clues that point to link between Gauri Lankesh, M M Kalburgi killing

More than one official familiar with the probe into Lankesh’s killing said that although the investigation remained open in terms of tracking down the killers — and formal forensics and ballistics reports are awaited — there has been a “significant finding” that suggests a link between the killings of Kalburgi and Lankesh.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Updated: September 12, 2017 6:50 am
Gauri Lankesh, M M Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh murder, M M Kalburgi murder, Journalist murder, lankesh murder probe, Scholar and rationalist Kalburgi was shot dead at his home at 8.40 am by two unidentified persons who drove up on a motorcycle. (File photo)

Investigations have revealed that the “mechanics of the crime’’ in the September 5 killing of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, 55, by an unidentified gunman is identical to that of the August 30, 2015 murder of Kannada literary scholar M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in north Karnataka.

More than one official familiar with the probe into Lankesh’s killing said that although the investigation remained open in terms of tracking down the killers — and formal forensics and ballistics reports are awaited — there has been a “significant finding” that suggests a link between the killings of Kalburgi and Lankesh.

While an official declined to give details, he said that this finding goes beyond just the speculation so far that both the deaths involved a similar type of weapon.

In fact, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had said on Saturday that the SIT set up to probe the murder had obtained important clues. Senior police sources have, over the last couple of days, said that they are “very sure” that the killings in Karnataka are linked to each other along with two murders in Maharashtra.

Scholar and rationalist Kalburgi was shot dead at his home at 8.40 am by two unidentified persons who drove up on a motorcycle. The assailants knocked on the door of the home of the 77-year-old Sahitya Akademi Award winner and shot him on the doorstep with two bullets from a 7.65 mm countrymade pistol.

Lankesh was shot dead in the front yard of her home at 8 pm on September 5 by one of two persons who came on a motorcycle and fired four bullets from a 7.65 mm countrymade pistol while she was opening the gates to her home.

Investigations in the Kalburgi murder case by the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department had revealed that the 7.65 mm pistol used to kill the rationalist was the same one that was used to murder 81-year-old Maharashtra rationalist and Leftist thinker Govind Pansare in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015 by two unidentified men.

The forensic analysis had also revealed that one of the two guns used to shoot down Pansare in 2015 had also been used to kill Maharashtra rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, in Pune on August 20, 2013 by a pair of unidentified men.

One part of the investigation in the murder of Gauri Lankesh over the past week has focused on the crime scene evidence and the mechanics of the crime like the bullets and gun used. Investigations by the CBI into the Dabholkar case and a Maharashtra SIT probe into the murder of Pansare found links to a radical right wing outfit called the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), affiliated to the Sanatan Sanstha, but the actual shooters have remained at large.

The findings from the Kalburgi and the two Maharashtra cases suggested that the killers were in possession of two guns they used to carry out the assassinations.

“The key difference between the murder of Gauri Lankesh and the other killings is the fact that she was killed at night while the other murders occurred in the morning. This could be because Gauri Lankesh did not venture out in the morning but returned late evening,’’ sources said.

The SIT is pursuing multiple angles to zero in on the perpetrators. Activists of the HJS and Sanatan Sanstha based in Karnataka are among those under the scanner along with a local unit of the outfit. “The weapon used to commit the crime has been a key focus of the investigation and efforts are on to find out how and where it was procured,’’ an official said.

The investigation is also looking at whether the killing involved hired killers or members of a group. Cell records, CCTV footage, history of stories published in the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, data from hotels and lodges in Bengaluru in the period preceding the murder and information from prisons about recently released convicts are all being probed, sources said.

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  1. S
    Shafted mohammed
    Sep 14, 2017 at 4:16 am
    Ok then what what I want to know who killed them both.
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    1. R
      Rakesh Pandit
      Sep 13, 2017 at 12:12 am
      Its true that shooting this lady to death is deplorable, but its slowly getting apperant that majority of the people shouting against right/left wing for this murder hardly knew Gauri Lankedh or the magazine she published. They are doing it to push forward their perdonal agenda, probably to obtain their one and a half minute of fame. This movement/morchas/candlelight walks etc have hardly made any impact on the common man.
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      1. A
        Airbendet
        Sep 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm
        Its your phoney investigation that tries to fix everything even before ballistics reports are out. You have given away the goose by calling antinational people as rationalists as if all other Indians are irrational.
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        1. I
          India Best
          Sep 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm
          Kill in 100s and world takes notice, Kill 10 or 20 and convert 10 or 20 each year like hindus in pakistan nobody takes notice but in the long run.. Political parties specially in india are apeasing rohingyas ONLY because they are muslims. When 9/11 us a attack took place and US invaded Al queda No one in India supported Sikhs who fled Afghanistan No one in india supported hindu kashmiri pandits. NO ONE supported atrocities Tamil hindus in srilanka INFACT Rajiv Gandhi Sent Indian Army to kill tamils. Indira Gandhi sent army to Suvarna Mandir SAME INDIRA hesitated sending army to mosque where Mufti mohd. syed daughter was abducted and kept in mosque in kashmir
          (0)(0)
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          1. I
            India Best
            Sep 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm
            Kill in 100s and world takes notice, Kill 10 or 20 and convert 10 or 20 each year like hindus in pakistan nobody takes notice but in the long run.. Political parties specially in india are apeasing rohingyas ONLY because they are muslims. When 9/11 us a attack took place and US invaded Al queda No one in India supported them. No one in india supported hindu kashmiri pandits. NO ONE supported atrocities Tamil hindus in srilanka INFACT Rajiv Gandhi Sent Indian Army to kill tamils. Indira Gandhi sent army to Suvarna Mandir SAME INDIRA hesitated sending army to mosque where Mufti mohd. syed daughter was abducted and kept in mosque in kashmir
            (0)(0)
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