Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder to ensure a direct hit, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

August 2, 2018: During his training in the usage of guns under the tutelage of members of a radical extremist Hindutva group in a forest near Belgaum on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border, 26-year-old Parashuram Waghmare, who is accused of shooting journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017, was told by at least one person to “shoot her in the head’’ like they had done while shooting Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi, the Indian Express reports.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

According to the Indian Express this revelation by Waghmare, the alleged shooter in the Lankesh case, has provided the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka police an inkling that at least one of the persons involved in training Waghmare was also involved in the unsolved murder of Kalburgi on August 30, 2015.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

The finding that some of Waghmare’s trainers were directly involved in the Kalburgi murder adds to forensic findings that a common group of assassins was involved in the two shootings.

A report from the Karnataka state forensic science laboratory of the analysis of ballistic evidence in the two cases — presented with a preliminary chargesheet filed by the SIT on May 30 in the Lankesh case — states that Kalburgi and Lankesh were killed with the exact same 7.65 mm country-made gun, reports Indian Express.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

Kalburgi was killed at the doorstep of his Dharwad home by an unidentified gunman, who shot him in the head at almost point blank range after his wife opened the door to a stranger seeking to meet the scholar.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

A report from the Karnataka state forensic science laboratory of the analysis of ballistic evidence in the two cases — presented with a preliminary chargesheet filed by the SIT on May 30 in the Lankesh case — states that Kalburgi and Lankesh were killed with the exact same 7.65 mm country-made gun.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Kalburgi was killed at the doorstep of his Dharwad home by an unidentified gunman, who shot him in the head at almost point blank range after his wife opened the door to a stranger seeking to meet the scholar says the Indian Express report.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

Lankesh was killed after four bullets were fired at her by a gunman while she was opening the gate to her home after returning from work on the evening of September 5, 2017. The SIT has identified Waghmare as the man who arrived wearing a helmet to shoot the journalist while his accomplice, identified as Ganesh Miskin, 27, waited on a motorcycle a few yards away.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

The SIT probe has found that Waghmare trained in the usage of firearms with Miskin, who hails from Hubbali. The others allegedly involved in the training were Rajesh Bangera, 50, a government employee and owner of two licensed pistols, who served as the main arms trainer for youths recruited by the Hindutva group, and Amol Kale, 37, a former Pune coordinator of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti who led the operations of the secret group.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

SIT sources said that Waghmare revealed during questioning that he was told during his training to “shoot in the head” as it was done in the Kalburgi murder to ensure a clean hit.

In remand applications since the arrest of Waghmare on June 11 and Miskin on July 22, the SIT has stated that the duo were together when Waghmare was trained.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

“The accused no A9 (Miskin) along with accused no A7 (Waghmare) trained in the usage of firearms — pistol shooting — in a forest region near Belagavi,’’ states an SIT remand application of July 23 seeking custody of Miskin and his Hubbali friend Amit Baddi.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

The SIT arrested Waghmare last month for the Lankesh murder after finding clues leading to him in a diary belonging to Kale. Based on descriptions provided by Waghmare about his accomplice in the Lankesh shooting, and analysis of mobile phone usage by the group, the SIT arrested Miskin and Baddi, 28, on July 22.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

Miskin was chosen by the secretive group to ride the motorcycle to take Waghmare to Lankesh’s home to carry out the shooting because of his possible involvement in an earlier murder of a similar nature, SIT sources said. The SIT probe has found that Miskin trained a few years earlier in the usage of firearms under Bangera — after he was recruited by Kale.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

The probe has found that the group’s main arms trainer, Bangera, 50, who was a second division clerk in the state government, was also the main supplier of ammunition to the group for their assassination plots.

“The accused no 11 (Bangera) used to buy ammunition for the licensed pistols in his possession and has supplied 20 bullets to A3 (Kale),” the SIT stated in a July 24 remand application seeking custody of Bangera, the Indian Express reports.

Also Read: SIT claims Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the Main Agency to carry out Killings

Since the arrest of Bangera, the SIT has found that he bought hundreds of .32 or 7.65 mm bullets over the last six years from an ammunition store in Madikeri in the guise of using it for his licensed weapons and diverted many of the bullets to the Hindutva group, the Indian Express reports.

Long before he trained Waghmare, Bangera is alleged to have trained Miskin in usage of firearms. Several other youths recruited by Kale and his aides for the group are alleged to have been trained by Bangera, sources said.

Source: Indian Express

SIT claims Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

Journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh’s name was on an apparent ‘hitlist’ that had the names of 33 other people, including theatre personality Girish Karnad, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka police has revealed.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

According to an Indian Express report, two such ‘hitlists’ were found in the possession of Amol Kale (36), who was arrested in May. Lankesh’s name was second on a list that  had a total of eight names. Theatre legend Girish Karnad’s name topped the list. The other list included 26 targets.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

The SIT believes the lists were drawn up in July 2016. Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence on September 5, 2017.

The SIT has arrested two more suspects in relation to the killing, taking the total numbers of suspects arrested in the case, to nine.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

A Mangalore-based state government employee working for the education department was recently arrested for training the killers how to fire a gun, according to the Indian Express.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

All the suspects are linked to extremist Hindu groups such as Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and were active members of both the groups.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

Amol Kale, in whose possession the diary was found, is a resident of Pune and a former convenor of the HJS.

The SIT said that Lankesh and others on the lists were chosen as targets because of their opposition towards radical Hindutva and superstitious practices.

All the people mentioned in the hit list have been provided state security.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

“These lists were some kind of tentative collection of names compiled at the end of discussions by a small group of people. They seem to be random lists which would undergo changes. Though Lankesh was named at no. 2, she was targeted first,’’ reported the Indian Express, quoting a police source, because she was apparently a soft and easy target.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Mysuru-based writer and academic K.S. Bhagwan, Kannada writers Yogesh Master, Chandrashekhar Patil and Banajagere Jayaprakash and former Karnataka backward castes commission chairman C.S. Dwarkanath were also listed as targets of the group.

Nidumamidi Swamiji, a seer opposed to superstition, was also a target.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The police have also provided security to literary figures Patil Putappa, Nataraj Huliyar, Baragur Ramachandrappa and Chennaveera Kanavi. Rationalist Narendra Nayak and S.M. Jamdar, the former IAS officer and proponent of separate religion status for the Lingayat community, were also provided state security.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

Other documents found in Kale and associate Sujeet Kumar’s possession reveal a network of at least 30 people engaged in planning and execution of killings of those opposed to Hindutva.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

The Sanathan Sanstha had also been accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

In his petition, Rokade had told the court that the state government had forwarded a proposal to the Centre in 2012 recommending a ban on the organisation, but that the Centre did not act on it.

The Maharashtra government’s proposal was based on Anti-Terrorism Squad reports and inputs.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“The government of Maharashtra has reached to the conclusion that Sanatan Sanstha organisation is liable to be banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” the government had said in an affidavit filed in connection with the case in 2012.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

Source: The Wire

Seventh suspect arrested in Gauri Lankesh’s murder case was associated with Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha for several years

THE Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh has arrested a man who allegedly took a house on rent in Bengaluru to facilitate the stay of four people involved in the killing.

Mohan Nayak was a full-time activist of the Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and was primarily involved in fund-raising activities for the Sanstha and the HJS.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The social media profile of Mohan Nayak indicates that he has been associated with right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti for years, and posted dozens of messages from Sanatan Sanstha and HJS publications on his social media account, reports the Indian Express.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Nayak was actively involved in activities of the Sanathan Sanstha and provided logistical support to the actual killers. He was also involved in fund-raising in Goa and Belagavi, the money which was routed for clandestine activities, police sources revealed.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Nayak and his team used to collect donations from unsuspecting Hindus in Goa and Belagavi for various purposes like providing free food and shelter to the poor, homeless and destitute or for cow protection or to fund gaushalas. Most of this money was diverted to illegal activity like procuring weapons, claims the SIT.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

“The SIT has arrested one person, Mohan Nayak, 50, from Dakshina Kannada district,” said DCP M N Anucheth, the chief investigating officer of the SIT. Nayak was arrested on July 18 and produced in court on Thursday. He has been remanded in six days police custody.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

Police sources said the SIT’s probe led to Nayak, a resident of Dakshina Kannada, after a phone link to him was found in the diary of Amol Kale, 37, who was arrested by the SIT in May. The sources said that Nayak took a house on rent around 15 km from Lankesh’s house to accommodate four persons directly involved in the murder.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Nayak is the seventh person arrested in the murder case.

According to Bangalore Mirror, the SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case is examining the role of 50-year-old man identified as Mohan Nayak from Dakshin Kannada district. He is suspected to be a close accomplice of Amol Kale, who played a major role in plotting the murder conspiracy.

Also Read: CBI, Maharashtra CID must diligently probe deaths of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare as liberals fear threat to life

The SIT is tight-lipped on details but it is suspected that Nayak had given logistical support to Amol Kale, the alleged mastermind of the conspiracy in Belagavi.

It was in Belagavi that Kale used to meet the other accused, including the alleged shooter Parashuram Waghmare, and had made preparations for eliminating writer-cum-activist Gauri Lankesh, reports Bangalore Mirror.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Sources said that Nayak had helped Kale when he was based in Khade Bazaar locality in Belagavi and was overseeing the Karnataka operations of his clandestine radical outfit, reports Bangalore Mirror.

Nayak also reportedly helped the accused set up a base in Bengaluru on Mysuru Rroad where Waghmare moved in a couple of weeks before he allegedly shot Gauri at her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

SIT sources had earlier claimed that they were trying to locate the people who provided logistical support to the accused in Bengaluru after they arrived a couple of days before the murder on September 5. They put Gauri under surveillance and conducted a recce of her residence and office, says Bangalore Mirror.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

As of now, the SIT has arrested six others in connection with the case – KT Naveen Kumar from Mandya, Suchit Kumar from Shivamogga, Parashuram Waghmare and Manohar Edave from Vijayapura, Amol Kale from Pune and Amit Degwekar from Goa.

It is suspected that Kale was the mastermind along with Degwekar, closely associated with the Ponda-based ashram Sanatan Sanstha in Goa that had come under the scanner for the Malegaon and Margao blasts in 2006 and 2009.

Also Read: Shashi Tharoor’s life may be in danger as extreme right groups could be training their guns on the Thiruvananthapuram MP?

Naveen Kumar, who had founded the Hindu Yuva Sena, was the first to be caught in Bengaluru while attempting to sell ammunition.

The four others were arrested for planning to kill Kannada writer K.S. Bhagawan, also known for his anti-Hindutva stand.

Source: Indian Express, Bangalore Mirror

Shashi Tharoor’s life may be in danger as extreme right groups that murdered Gauri Lankesh, Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Pansare could be training their guns on the Thiruvananthapuram MP?

IndiaScoops.com Political Bureau | Mumbai | 17th July 2018: After BJP youth activists smeared black oil on Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s constituency office over his comment that a “Hindu Pakistan” would be created if the ruling party at the Centre returned to power, a special police team probing the murders of journalist Gauri Lankesh feels the Thiruvananthapuram MP’s life could be in grave danger, as several far-right organisations consider Tharoor a thorn in their sides for his ability to create a huge traction in the media with his one-liners and witty utterances against the ruling BJP government.

As an intellectual, Tharoor’s thoughts and views are frowned upon by certain elements in the pro-Hindutva, extreme right outfits, who consider him to be their enemy No 1.

Not just Tharoor, another 3-4 senior Opposition leaders from different regional political parties could possibly be on the hit-list of these secret far-right extremist outfits, a former IB official who now works for a defense security consulting firm told IndiaScoops.com.

However, while SIT sources confirmed that Tharoor could be on the hit-list of certain extremist Hindu outfits, other senior police officials brushed off the threat as mere speculation and rubbished rumours that Tharoor’s security has been beefed up substantially in the last 10 days.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

According to reports appearing in local Thiruvananthapuram media, certain extremist elements from far right fringe groups like the Dharam Jagaran Samanvay Samiti, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Hindu Andolan, Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, Shiv Sena Hindustan, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Hindu Dharma Sena, Hindu Makkal Katchi, Hindu Rashtra Sena, Sanathan Sanstha, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini, etc., have formed a secret group to carry out executions or hits, similar to those of Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of author and critic Gauri Lankesh had earlier revealed that the killers of Gauri Lankesh had 2-3 more targets including actor Prakash Raj and were carrying out reconnaissance at the targets’ place of work and residence to find out the pattern and daily schedule of their targets.

It has now come to light that 2-3 senior politicians are also on the list of the main conspirators who are still at large. The SIT fears that the main conspirators one of whom is  a retired army  Colonel.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh strongly suspects the role of four top rung leaders, including a retired Indian Army Colonel, of a right-wing organisation, to be behind the murder who are directly connected to top leaders in the ruling BJP party at the Centre.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

With investigations pointing towards their possible involvement, the SIT is trying to gather clinching evidence against them, sources in the SIT told The New Indian Express (TNIE)

The four persons are suspected to have given the ‘order’ to Amol Kale to eliminate Gauri, who reportedly invited their wrath by making derogatory speeches against Hindu religion.

A senior SIT official, on condition of anonymity, admitted to TNIE, that the role of the four men was strongly suspected in the murder.

Also Read: CBI, Maharashtra CID must diligently probe deaths of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare as liberals fear threat to life

“The four hold key positions in a right-wing organisation and one among them is a retired Colonel. Though we believe that the call for the murder was given by them, there is no substantial evidence against them. We are working on gathering evidence against them,” the official told TNIE.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the organisation is trying hard to shield the absconding accused persons in the case and substantial pressure is being exerted on the investigating officers.

“There are at least three accused persons involved in the case, who are still at large, and we have information that the organisation is helping and funding them to evade arrest,” the official added.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

SIT sources told IndiaScoops.com that in the run up to the 2019 polls, at least two senior Congress politicians are on the hit list of this secret group, the four main conspirators of which are still at large and their actual identities are still unclear.

The SIT has so far arrested 6 persons linked to the Gauri Lankesh murder, including the man who pulled the trigger. The murder weapon – the gun which was used in two more shootings has not yet been found.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

According to media reports, Tharoor was not present in the office when the attack by BJP Yuva Morcha took place. He was attending other functions in the city.

The BJP Yuva Morcha activists, shouting slogans, barged into the office and even tied a banner saying “Hindu Pakistan”
office.

Senior Congress legislator V.D. Sateeshan told the media that the incident was a show of the BJP’s arrogance.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

State Congress president M.M. Hassan and leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala strongly condemned the act.

Speaking on “Threats faced by Indian Democracy and Secularism” at an event in the city last week, Mr Tharoor said: “The great danger is that if they (the BJP) are able to win a repeat of their current strength in the Lok Sabha, then frankly our democratic constitution as we understand will not survive because they will have all the three elements they need to tear up the Constitution of India and write a new one.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

“That will be a new one which will enshrine the principle of Hindu Rashtra, will remove equality for minorities, that will create a Hindu Pakistan,” Tharoor is reported to have said.

It is learnt that the secret right wing outfit had funded the entire operation.

“Amol Kale was being paid at least Rs 1.25 lakh every month since planning the operation to kill Gauri began in January 2017. The money was pumped by the outfit to arrange manpower and logistics as part of the mission,” the official said, claims a TNIE report.

with inputs from various agencies including NDTV, TNIE, TOI, etc.,

Sanathan Sanstha was a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to the Sanstha

Alleged mastermind of group involved in Gauri murder took a house on rent in Belagavi; other accused met him there, reports Bangalore Mirror.

According to a report in the Bangalore Mirror, the ongoing SIT probe in Gauri Lankesh murder case has revealed that Amol Kale, the alleged mastermind of the group that killed her, was active in Karnataka since 2013. Kale was residing in the garb of a social worker at a modest rented room in Khade Bazar in Belagavi.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The Bangalore Mirror report claims that “Kale had been focusing on Karnataka much before the Gauri Lankesh’s murder. The investigation agency suspects that he was working for a Goa-based organisation Sanathan Sanstha that acted as a sort of nodal agency for this underground group of radicals,” sources added.

Kale was initially arrested from Belagavi in the last week of May and his Pune residence was subsequently raided by the SIT in an attempt to locate the firearm used to murder the writer and activist.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

“It is a modest one-room kitchen set up in Khade Bazar. It is inside a maze of streets and Kale had taken it on rent more than four years back. He used to stay there and once in a while go to Pune and Goa,” said SIT officials.

The SIT officials have identified owner of the house who rented it to Kale and has recorded his statement. It has also been pointed out that all six accused so far arrested in the case, including KT Naveen Kumar, had visited Kale at Khade Bazar, reports Bangalore Mirror.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Kale was reportedly in touch with multiple recruiters working for the outfit, who were identifying ‘like-minded’ youths at various spiritual and religious events to be roped into the outfit. Suchith Kumar alias Praveen, another accused arrested in the Gauri Lankesh case, was one such recruiter and Manohar Edave is also suspected to have been part of this group that arranged logistics for their operation, says the Bangalore Mirror report.

“We are collecting more details from some of the documents and diaries recovered from Kale,” sources added.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The proximity of Belagavi from Ponda in Goa is being ascribed as one of the main reasons for the group to choose Belagavi as Kale’s base. Amit Degvekar, another suspect arrested in the case, was an inmate of this Goa-based ashram and used to often visit Kale in Belagavi claims Bangalore Mirror.

Degwekar was also questioned in connection with 2009 Margao blasts and was also a roommate of Malgonda Patil. Patil died when a bomb accidentally exploded while being it was being transported on a scooter.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

“Belagavi also has a strong presence of fringe outfits like Sri Ram Sene. More details could be revealed only after we finish the probe. It seems some splinter right wing groups collaborated in murdering Gauri,” sources added.

As of now, the SIT has arrested six persons- Amol Kale, Amit Degwekar , Suchith Kumar , Manohar Edave, Parashuram Waghmare and KT Naveen Kumar for the Gauri Lankesh murder.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Parashuram Waghmare, a 26-year-old from Vijayapura allegedly associated with Sri Ramsene is suspected to have been the shooter, who arrived with another accomplice outside Gauri Lankesh’s residence in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar and shot her dead on September 5, 2017.

According to an Indian Express report, the Hindutva extremist K T Naveen Kumar arrested in connection with the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh attended at least five different meetings of the Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), last year in Bengaluru and Maddur in Karnataka, and Ponda in Goa, investigations have found.

Source: Bangalore Mirror / Indian Express

Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

When Amit Degwekar, 38, a resident of the extreme radical Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha’s ashram in Ponda, Goa, was arrested in May this year for the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka Police had found in his possession several envelopes with varying amounts of cash. The money came to over Rs 1.5 lakh, reports the Indian Express.

The cash found in the envelopes had been withdrawn from a Sanatan Sanstha bank account and were meant to be given to field workers associated with a secret covert activities unit of the ultra-right wing Hindutva group, allegedly involved in assassinations and subversion in Karnataka and Maharashtra, the SIT has surmised, following investigations after the arrest of Degwekar and four others for direct involvement in Lankesh’s murder.

A bank pass book of the Sanstha account from where the money was drawn was found in Degwekar’s possession, it is learnt, says an Indian Express report.

Gauri Lankesh murder: Shooter kept in house rented by man linked to Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

A promoter and editor of ‘Sanatan Prabhat’, a publication of the Sanstha, Degwekar, who worked ostensibly under supervision of a senior member of the Hindutva outfit, has been identified by SIT as a channel for funds to a covert activities group headed by Amol Kale, 37, a Pune resident and former convenor of Sanstha-affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS).

The probe has so far found that besides serving as a direct link for the covert group to the Sanatan Sanstha, Degwekar was also closely associated with Kale in plotting Lankesh’s murder. They ostensibly travelled together on one occasion to study her daily movements in the lead-up to the murder on the evening of September 5, 2017. Lankesh had at the time just returned from work to her home in Bengaluru.

Degwekar was arrested along with Kale and Manohar Edave, 29, a Karnataka resident, from Davangere in southern Karnataka in May this year. The SIT arrested them on the basis of information from a former HJS activist identified as Sujeet Kumar, 38.

The SIT had arrested Sujeet for allegedly playing a central role in organising logistics for the murder.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha, other Hindu outfits involved

A resident at Sanatan Sanstha’s ashram for several years, Degwekar, according to investigators, was a roommate of Malgonda Patil, one of the two Sanstha men killed in October 2009 in a blast in Madgaon, Goa.

He was at the time allegedly ferrying an IED bomb to plant it at a Diwali celebration that was opposed by the Sanstha for apparently bein, g against Hindu belief.

The SIT says Degwekar is currently the only direct link between the Lankesh assassination plot and the Sanstha, although several others arrested have had strong links to the Sanstha in the past, or have been associated with the outfit through splinter radical Hindutva groups such as the Hindu Yuva Sena or Sri Rama Sena.

According to sources in SIT, the envelopes carrying cash found with Degwekar were meant to be given to field workers co-opted into the radical unit — such as the main shooter Parashuram Waghmare, 26, who was recruited from Sri Rama Sena in Vijayapura to shoot Lankesh; and K T Naveen Kumar, 37, recruited from Hindu Yuva Sena in Maddur to allegedly provide logistics for the murder, reports the Indian Express.

Also Read: Plot to kill Gauri Lankesh was hatched at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

In the course of his interrogation, Degwekar has reportedly claimed that cash found on him were payments made by subscribers of Sanatan Sanstha’s publications, which he claimed to promote by travelling around the country.

“My brother has been wrongly arrested. He is a member of Sanatan Sanstha for a decade now. He lives and works at the Sanatan Sanstha ashram in Goa,” Degwekar’s brother Viraj had said after his arrest in May.

Sanstha spokesperson Chethan Rajhans has stated: “Amit Degwekar promoted ‘Sanatan Prabhat’ – he used to come to the ashram for that work. The Sanstha is involved in spiritual enhancement of Hindus. We are not killers.”

Since identifying Parashuram Waghmare as the man who pulled the trigger on Lankesh and arresting him on June 11, the SIT has found that he was paid around Rs 13,000 to cover expenses after the murder. The assassin was also given a similar amounts by Kale after he was recruited two years ago and trained in 2017 in firing guns, sources said.

The probe has found that the men in charge of the covert activities group like Kale went to great lengths to ensure that operatives at the lower levels like Waghmare and Naveen Kumar had access to only a minimum amount of information about the assassination plots they were roped into.

On two occasions he came to Bengaluru — in July 2017 for a recce and in September 2017 for the murder — Waghmare was apparently taken blindfolded to hideouts.

Source: Indian Express

Gauri Lankesh murder: Main shooter kept in house rented by man linked to Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Investigations into the shooting of journalist Gauri Lankesh, 55, outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017, has thrown up more indications of links to the Goa, Ponda-based radical Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), following the arrest of six suspects in recent days, reports the Indian Express.

A Karnataka Police SIT, which is probing the case, has found that the alleged shooter, Parshuram Waghmare, 26, was called to Bengaluru in July 2017 and housed in a remote home on the outskirts of Bengaluru by a key planner of the murder, Amol Kale, 37, a Pune resident, and former HJS convenor.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

The house where Waghmare was kept was rented by a man Amit Degwekar associated with the Sanatan Sanstha and let out for a few days to “friends’’ who have emerged as the main suspects in the murder plot, the SIT has found.

The house, 20 km from Lankesh’s home, was used in July 2017 as a base by Waghmare and Kale — who are among six persons linked to Sanatan Sanstha and HJS who have been arrested for the murder — to survey the journalist’s home and prepare plans to kill her, the SIT has found.

The house was originally rented by building contractor Suresh Kumar for his family – wife and two children — around June 2017, but for around 10 days in July 2017 “the inhabitants of the house went away and the suspects lived there”, SIT sources told Indian Express.

The SIT stumbled upon the house after finding entries for locations, identities and contact numbers in diaries belonging to two arrested suspects —- Kale and Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen, 38, a former HJS activist from Karnataka – after their arrest in May. The SIT has found that the contractor let out his home on “terms of friendship” after he was requested to do so by Sujeet.

The SIT confronted Suresh and he confessed to letting out his rented home to friends while his family was away for 10 days, but stated that he was not directly involved in the murder plot.

“Police came a few days ago and took Suresh away. The police asked us if we had seen any strangers living in the house but we had not seen anybody. They are a very decent family. I cannot believe they could be involved in any crime,’’ said Jagadish, an autodriver who lives next door.

Also Read: Plot to kill Gauri Lankesh was hatched at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

“We did not expect trouble because they were a family,’’ said the sister of the landlord, who lives next door and collects rent from the tenants of the building.

Suresh has now gone incommunicado. “They said they were going for a wedding,’’ the neighbour Jagadish said.

Suresh has provided a voluntary statement before a magistrate’s court stating that he provided shelter at his home for the suspects for several days after he was requested to do so by his friend Sujeet.

“We are treating him as a witness, and will review the situation if evidence emerges regarding his involvement in the murder plot,’’ an SIT official said, indicating that Suresh was acquainted with Sujeet through their association with Sanatan Sanstha.

Suresh is closely associated with Sanatan Sanstha and HJS along with many family members, including one family member who is a full time activist, police and SIT sources said.

“The suspect (Waghmare) was called to Bengaluru by other suspects and housed at a remote location by other suspects and together they watched the daily routine of the victim Gauri Lankesh and carried out recces on 3-4 occasions,’’ the SIT said in a remand application filed for the custody of Waghmare after his arrest on June 12.

The suspects are believed to have used two separate places as shelters in the planning phase and execution phase of the murder of Lankesh. After the house at Seegehalli Gate on Magadi Road was chosen for the planning phase, Kale and Waghmare traveled regularly to the location of Lankesh’s home by using routes not tracked by police cameras.

The suspects used at least one other shelter for the execution of the crime, SIT sources told Indian Express.

The Sanatan Sanstha has denied involvement in the Lankesh killing, claiming it had no idea what its members were up to.

Source: Indian Express

4 more suspects involved in conspiracy of Gauri Lankesh’s murder: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit hatched murder plan

Four more suspects are believed to be involved in journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder. The special investigation team probing the case has mentioned seven names in the FIR.

According to sources, four more names will be added to the FIR and they are believed to be involved in the murder and conspiracy. reports India Today.

Sources said that the alleged killer Parashuram Wagamare received gun training by two marksmen in July 2017, two months before the murder. Wagamare was trained in the forests of Belgaum district with an air gun pistol. Wagamare received just two days of initial training on how to shoot from a close range.

A crucial evidence, a strand of hair, has been found where the gun that was used for the killing was hidden before the murder took place. Sources said that the gun was hidden in a house in Bengaluru and the hair strand has been found there. The hair strand will be sent for scientific analysis to determine if it belonged to any of the accused.

Core members of a major Hindu organisation are believed to be the mastermind behind the Gauri Lankesh’s murder. The organisation had recruited about 60 activists and had 37 names in their hit list, Gauri Lankesh was one of them.

Sources also confirmed that the diary that was picked up from accused Amol Kale has been sent for handwriting analysis to match it with his handwriting.

However, the SIT is yet to find out the actual murder weapon and the bike that was used for the murder.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, has revealed that 4 top-level satraps of a pro-Hindutva outfit hatched the plot to kill her and other rationalists reports NewsX. The SIT has not yet revealed the name of the outfit.

According to reports, the 6 persons arrested in connection with the case were only the executioners and 4 other persons were involved in conceiving the entire plan. The investigators have launched a hunt to nab these 4 accused.

Source: India Today/NewsX

Bombay HC pulls up CBI, Maharashtra SIT for zero progress in Dabholkar, Pansare murders, heaps praise on Karnataka SIT for Gauri Lankesh probe

Bengaluru: The Bombay High Court has taken cognizance of the progress made in the investigation done by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Karnataka in making a breakthrough in the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh and has pulled up the CBI and Maharashtra SIT for the tardy progress the two agencies have made in cracking the murder cases of Prof Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. The CBI is investigating the murder of Dabholkar, w ho shot down by two bike-borne assailants on August 20, 2013 in Pune. Pansare was fatally shot by two bike borne assailants in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015.

On Gauri case and the role of Karnataka SIT, it said, “The steps taken by them have resulted in the apprehension of certain persons from Maharashtra named as ‘accused’. The material in relation to those investigations has been shared with both agencies investigating the murder of Shri Narendra Dabholkar and Shri Govind Pansare. We are surprised that some of those accused of murdering two persons in the State of Karnataka have been apprehended from Maharashtra.

There have been seizures effected as well from within the State. There are several persons named and stated to be associated with a sanstha/institution. The base of this sanstha/institution is also known to the investigating agencies. It is stated that a strict vigil is maintained on the premises of this institution; on the movement of its members, followers and disciples. However, we find that the promptness with which an investigation in the latter murder has taken place, resulting in the apprehension of certain persons from Maharashtra would reveal that the same degree of alertness, promptitude and seriousness has prima facie not been noticed by us on the part of the investigating agencies in charge of investigation of the two murders in Maharashtra,” observed the Bombay High Court, while listening to the prayers of the two bereaved families of the late rationalists from Maharashtra on June 28.

The court observed that they would also not be satisfied with the CBI and Maharashtra SIT and officials present in court putting up their hands in disgust and stating that everything has reached a dead end. “In one country, if there are investigating agencies in one part or one state exhibiting the necessary zeal and enthusiasm, so also expediency, but earlier murders occurring in the very country, but in an adjoining State are not investigated fully even after nearly five years of their occurrence, we do not see why in a progressive State like the State of Maharashtra, requisite steps are not being taken particularly to trace out all accused, as alleged by the family members. Prima facie, there is a commonality in these dastardly acts of the extreme elements… Is there a lack of co­ordination, is there no proper analysis of the information generated at the ground level, are the investigations only restricted to intercepting mobile telephone calls or the financial network as complained, and a vigil has not resulted in anything beyond a watch and ward?” the Bombay High Court observed.

Meanwhile, families of Prof Dabholkar and Com Pansare told Deccan Chronicle that the work done by the Karnataka SIT in cracking the Gauri Lankesh murder case has given them hope that they would also get justice and closure in the two murders. “The work done by the CBI and SIT, Maharashtra in cracking my father’s murder and that of Com Pansare is lacklustre. The Karnataka SIT has rekindled our hopes,” said Dr Hamid Dabholkar, son of late Prof Dabholkar.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The Special Investigation Team  (SIT) probing the murder of author and critic Gauri Lankesh revealed that the killers had 2-3 more targets including actor Prakash Raj and were carrying out  reconnaissance at the targets’ place of work and residence to find out the pattern and daily schedule of their targets.

Also Read: SIT grills Sri Ram Sene’s Vijayapura chief Rakesh Math in Gauri Lankesh murder case

SIT sources were hesitant to talk about the ongoing investigation, but a source pointed out that a senior Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based freelance journalist, highly critical of the Sri Ram Sene, the VHP and the RSS, were on their hit list. SIT sources are unwilling to part with any further information on the grounds that it could jeopardize the ongoing investigation. “There was a larger conspiracy to strike terror in the hearts of dissident voices and silence them. They were planning to target actors, media persons and politicians. There is an unnamed group which has activists and members in 5-6 states that actually carries out the hits.

Also Read: Hinduism under grave threat, you have to kill Lankesh to save our religion: Gauri Lankesh’s shooter Parashuram Waghmore instructed by handler 

The killers had visited the home of the Goan Congress politician twice to note down details of his vehicle number and other information required to carry out the hit.

Meanwhile reacting to the reports that the killers of author Gauri Lankesh had planned to kill him as well, actor Prakash Raj on Wednesday said his voice will grow stronger.

Sharing a news report of the SIT, probing Gauri killings, investigations findings that there were plans to eliminate him on Twitter, Raj hit out at his haters and expressed concerns over forces trying to silence his voice.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: Knew of murder plot 15 days in advance

“Bengaluru: Gauri killers planned to eliminate actor Prakash Rai, reveals SIT probe… ….Look at the narrative to silence voices.. my VOICE will grow more STRONGER now .. you cowards …do you think you will get away with such HATE POLITICS,” tweeted Raj.

According to the SIT findings, as reported by a Kannada news channel, Gauri’s killers had conspired to kill Raj after he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP on public platforms.

The reports suggest that the killers had also planned to eliminate Jnanpeetha awardee Girish Karnad and they had named it as ‘operation kaka’.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: Main shooter Parshuram Wagmare – a Sri Ram Sene member arrested

Gauri Lankesh, a Left-leaning journalist, and a strong Hindutva critic was shot dead from a close range by motorcycle-borne assailants in front of her house on September 5 last year.

Parashuram Waghmore, picked up from Vijayapura district in north Karnataka has confessed to killing the journalist-activist.  The 26-year-old claimed he didn’t know who he was killing when he pumped four bullets into Gauri in front of her house in R R Nagar, Bengaluru, on the night of September 5, 2017, SIT sources said on Friday. “I was told in May 2017 I had to kill someone to save my religion. I agreed. I didn’t know who the victim was. Now I feel that I should have not killed the woman,” sources quoted Waghmore as confessing to the SIT.

The 650-page charge sheet filed before the First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate details the role of T Naveen Kumar as an accomplice in the murder, which triggered nationwide outrage.

As per the confession, accessed by CNN-News18, Kumar, the first accused in the murder probe, started off as someone who would run WhatsApp groups to spread messages to ‘save Hinduism’.

Kumar said that he had attended a workshop in June 2017 in Ponda, Goa (where the Sanatan Sanstha has its ashram) where he first talked about why “we need to weaponise ourselves” to safeguard Hinduism.

It was there that he came in touch with one Mohan Gowda, a Hindu Janajagruti Samiti activist from Bengaluru, who told him that there were “many like-minded individuals” who share that opinion. He also told Gowda he had a gun and bullets with him for this purpose, as per the confession.

Kumar was subsequently introduced to one ‘Praveen’, who went to his house to check out the bullets. Then, in August 2017, he attended a programme in Bengaluru and had a chat with ‘Praveen’, who told him about the plot to kill Lankesh.

The SIT also interrogated Vijayapura district Sri Rama Sene Chief Rakesh Math for over six hours last week to examine his connections and links with the alleged shooter Parashuram Waghmore.

The investigation came hours after the Sri Rama Sene published a Facebook post, appealing for people to financially support Waghmore’s family.