Automobile mechanic Vasudev Suryavanshi, 29, who was arrested on Sunday by Maharashtra ATS for alleged links with a radical Hindutva group involved in the accumulation of illegal arms, has been identified as an individual referred to as “Mechanic’’ in the diary of a key suspect in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Sources in the Karnataka Police SIT probing the murder case said an automobile mechanic arrested by the ATS has been identified as “Mechanic’’ in the diary of Amol Kale, alleged to be a key leader of a secretive Hindutva group with links to right-wing Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. He has been identified as one of dozens of youths who received training in using guns at camps in Karnataka and Maharashtra and was involved in activities of the group, the sources said.
“Mechanic’’ has been described by other suspects as being adept at stealing motorcycles and authorities are investigating if Suryavanshi was used in any way by the covert group for murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Leftist thinker Govind Pansare, Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi and Lankesh, said sources.
References in the diary of Kale, who was arrested in May, and the investigation of persons allegedly involved in providing arms training for the group suggest that one “Mechanic’’ attended an arms training camp conducted by the group around three years ago. The ATS arrested Suryavanshi from Jalgaon as part of its investigation into an alleged terror plot by right-wing outfits.
A diary maintained by Kale, a former HJS convenor from Pune, has been a key guide for the SIT in unraveling the criminal activities of the covert right-wing group. In the course of its investigation into Lankesh’s murder, the SIT has found that Kale gave members of the group nicknames to protect their real identities, sources said.
“Once we are sure that a youth is suited to be a part of our activities we provide them with a mobile phone to be used for exclusive communication with us and we designate a code name for the youth,’’ Sujeet Kumar, 38, a former HJS activist and a recruiter for the covert group, told the SIT after his arrest in May.