Two accused arrested for the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder last year have alleged that they were being coerced by the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) to confess to the crime.
While one suspect claimed that the Karnataka police offered him Rs 25 lakh to confess that he committed the crime, another alleged that his family was threatened.
“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) offered us Rs. 25 lakh to accept the crime,” Parashuram Waghmare said, according to a report by NDTV. Waghmare was being taken to court when he made the claim.
Another accused, Manohar Edave, also denied any involvement in the murder of the journalist at her Bengaluru home last year. said, “They threatened to implicate my family and friends unless I confessed to the murder,” he said.
When asked by the two suspects’ claims, an SIT officer refused to comment.
Left-leaning Lankesh, who was regularly wrote against Hindutva in her weekly Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead on September 5 last year by two motorcycle-borne assailants near her house here, triggering outrage.
14 suspects have been arrested in the case.
Right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha, which has its headquarters at Ramnathi in south Goa, is currently under the scanner for involvement of its members in the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.
Probe agencies suspect that the same group of right-wing activists is behind the killings of rationalists Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Lankesh. However, the probe agencies in Maharashtra and Karnataka, including the CBI, have not been able to establish the group’s link with the killing of rationalist and communist leader Pansare.
While Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune in August 2013, Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20. Lankesh was killed at her house in Bengaluru in September last year while Kalburgi was shot dead at the entrance of his house in Karnataka’s Dharwad district on August 30, 2015.
The organisation has alleged that an ATS officer in Goa was trying to “pressurise” its office-bearers for providing information in connection with ongoing investigation into various cases.
A senior functionary of the right wing organisation on Thursday filed a complaint against the officer with the Goa ATS chief Karthik Kashyap.
Sanstha spokesman Chetan Rajhans claimed that the officer spoke in a “threatening manner” over phone with Virendra Marathe, the managing trustee of Sanstha, recently.
Kashyap didn’t respond to phone calls for comments.