Using video analysis tools capable of distinguishing individuals by their walking patterns, a Special Investigation Team of Karnataka Police has been able to positively ascertain that Parshuram Ashok Waghmare, a 26-year-old activist of the Sri Rama Sena, was the man who shot journalist Gauri Lankesh at her home in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017.
Using a technique called “forensic gait analysis”, the Directorate of Forensic Sciences in Gujarat — which is equipped to analyse video footage of walking styles of people — has provided a report stating that Waghmare, who was arrested by the SIT on June 11, was indeed the killer, according to sources in the probe team.
The gait analysis was done by comparing video footage of the shooting that was captured on a CCTV camera located at the home of the journalist with a recreation of the shooting that was videographed with the suspected shooter following his arrest.
“From the manner in which the suspect held the gun and approached Lankesh and from the analysis of his movements including his torso movement, it has been concluded that Waghmare is the shooter seen in the CCTV footage,” an SIT official said regarding the gait analysis report.
Gait analysis is a video forensic technique that is being increasingly used in crime detection to identify individuals by the pattern of their physical movements amid the proliferation of video surveillance and CCTV cameras in urban settings.
The NIA used gait analysis techniques to distinguish a man who planted a bomb on the busy Church Street in Bengaluru in 2016. “The forensic gait analysis report is an independent confirmation of the findings of the SIT investigations, and strengthens the findings in the case,’’ an SIT official said.
Waghmare (26), alias Parashu, alias Kohli, alias Builder, was identified earlier as the shooter by the SIT on the basis of Waghmare’s own admission and on the basis of entries found in a diary belonging to Amol Kale, a former Hindu Janajagruti Samiti convenor from Pune who is accused of coordinating the murder of Lankesh.
Waghmare has a criminal record in Karnataka and was one of six men associated with Sri Rama Sena who were arrested for hoisting the flag of Pakistan in Sindhagi town in 2012 in an attempt to foment communal trouble in the region.
Waghmare was identified under the code name “Builder” in a diary found in the possession of Kale.