The Bengaluru Magistrate Court on Friday granted a Special Investigation Team in Karnataka inquiring into the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh the custody of KT Naveen Kumar, who has been named first accused in the case, ANI reported. Unidentified assailants had murdered Lankesh at her home on September 5, 2017.
The suspect will remain in the SIT’s custody for five days. The Karnataka Police had arrested the 37-year-old man on February 18 for illegal possession of bullets. Kumar, who is believed to have links with Hindutva group Hindu Yuva Sena had reportedly talked to his friends about his connection with the case.
The SIT had taken him into custody on March 3. The police suspect Kumar may have taken the killer to the journalist’s house in the city’s RR Nagar locality on the day of the murder.
“We have video footage of a man riding the bike near Gauri’s place, on September 3 and 5, for what is clearly a recce,” The Times of India had earlier quoted an unidentified official as saying. “He is wearing a full-face helmet but his nose is visible. We recreated the scene with Naveen on a similar bike. Everything – from his posture on the bike to the way he rides, to the nose – perfectly matches with CCTV footage.”
Kumar has reportedly admitted to harbouring four individuals from a right-wing organisation. The police, with Kumar’s help, have drawn sketches of those individuals.