The arrest of a 37-year-old man by Bengaluru Police for possession of a prohibited category of bullets has led to speculation of a breakthrough in the six-month-old mystery surrounding the killing of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh outside her residence in Bengaluru in September last year.
Naveen Kumar, 37, a resident of Birur region of south Karnataka, was arrested by the Central Crime Branch Police on February 18 for illegal possession of five rounds of .32 bullets. A case has been registered at Upparpet police station under the Arms Act against Kumar, who is associated with right-wing Hindu organisations. Police claimed to have recovered a total of 15 rounds of .32 bullets from him.
While the SIT has consistently maintained that no arrests have been made in the Gauri murder case so far, several local TV channels have reported arrests in the Gauri Lankesh murder case over the past month. However, sources indicated that investigations were at a crucial stage and a breakthrough was likely soon.
The SIT has over the past few months worked extensively to understand the network involved in the murder of the journalist-activist. Among primary evidence that the Karnataka SIT has found are empty cartridges of four bullets fired at Gauri from a 7.65 mm country-made gun that was used to kill her.
The forensic analysis of the bullets and cartridges has led to the finding that the 7.65 mm gun used to kill Gauri was also used in the killing of M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in August 2015 and Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in February 2015.