THE FORENSIC analysis of 16 countrymade guns recovered by Maharashtra ATS in August 2018 during a crackdown on an extremist group linked to Sanatan Sanstha has revealed that one of the guns was used for training two persons directly involved in the shooting of journalist Gauri Lankesh outside her Bengaluru home on September 5, 2017, sources have said.
The analysis of the 7.65 mm countrymade guns was carried out recently by experts at the Forensic Science Laboratory of Karnataka Police to ascertain whether any of the guns were used to shoot Lankesh. The analysis also compared bullets and cartridges found in Kineye forest near Belagavi — where the killers received training before the murder — with bullets and cartridges fired from the seized weapons.
The analysis has revealed that one of the guns was used in a practice session held in August 2017, police and forensic sources said. The new finding adds to an earlier finding which indicated that the 7.65 mm gun used to kill Lankesh was also used in practice sessions in the Kineye forest.
A Karnataka police SIT investigating the Gauri Lankesh murder case has found that the journalist was allegedly shot by Parashuram Waghmare, 26, who was recruited and trained by an organised syndicate linked to Sanatan Sanstha. Waghmare and an associate Ganesh Miskin, 27, reached the journalist’s home on a motorcycle and shot her at the gate, says the SIT’s chargesheet filed on November 23, 2018.
The SIT probe has found that weeks before the murder, Waghmare and Miskin were trained to use the gun by three others allegedly involved in the plot, including Amol Kale, a former Pune convenor of Sanathan Sanstha affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.
In October 2018, a suspect who was allegedly at the training camp ahead of the Lankesh murder and was arrested by the SIT, took police and forensic experts to the site of the camp. A search unearthed six expended bullets and six cartridges.
In a report dated November 13, 2018 on the analysis of the bullets and cartridges, the Karnataka Forensic Science lab said that one of the six bullets and one of the six cartridges found at the site were fired from the 7.65 mm gun used to shoot Lankesh.
The analysis of the bullets and cartridges revealed that one bullet and one cartridge had the same markings as those found on four bullets fired at Lankesh, indicating that the same 7.65 mm country made pistol was fired at the two sites, the report has stated.
The finding helped establish the fact that the persons involved in the murder of the journalist were in possession of the murder weapon prior to occurrence of the crime, police sources said.
Ballistic evidence has played a central role in the Lankesh murder case.
Following the murder, police recovered three bullets that hit her and a bullet that missed her along with the four empty cartridges. The bullets and cartridges were sent for forensic analysis and comparison with bullets and cartridges from the August 30, 2015 shooting of Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi, which occurred under similar circumstances.
In a September 13, 2017 ballistics report provided to the SIT, the Forensic Science Laboratory reported that the analysis of the bullets and cartridges in the two murder cases had revealed that Kalburgi and Lankesh were killed with the same pistol.
Forensic comparison done in 2015 of bullets and cartridges from the Kalburgi case with those recovered from the scene of the shooting of Leftist thinker Govind Pansare, 81, and his wife in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015 showed that one of the two guns from the shooting of Pansare was used to kill Kalburgi.
The findings in 2015 and 2017 helped establish the fact that the shootings of Pansare, Kalburgi and Lankesh were carried out with the same gun.