The Special Investigative Team(SIT) in journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder has uncovered the first person accused in the case on Friday, reported the Indian Express. Bengaluru Police arrested 37-year-old K T Naveen Kumar on February 18. He is the first person to be arrested in the case and is accused of illegal possession of bullets.

SIT informed a magistrate’s court in Bengaluru that it found his connection with Gauri Lankesh’s murder case while investigating an illegal arms case for which the Police had arrested him on February 18. Kumar belongs to Maddur in Mandya.

At the beginning, SIT tracked a warrant for Kumar’s arrest in the murder case. A little while after that the trial court judge put him in judicial custody in the illegal arms case. Then the SIT quoted voluntary statements by some of Kumar’s friends about his links to Lankesh’s murder to establish his connection with the case.

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It presented Kumar in front of the court of an additional chief metropolitan magistrate and offered the court a sealed copy of a confession statement given by him about his involvement in the murder. An assistant public prosecutor, Nirmala Rani sought for a remand from the court seeking police custody of Kumar for eight days. She petitioned for the remand to be able to uncover the larger conspiracy and usage of objects during the crime.

“At present, only one accused has been named. Others will be added after investigations. This suspect was traced on the basis of CCTV footage,” said Rani.

Upparpet police station in west Bengaluru arrested Kumar on February 18 after a crime branch official lodged a complaint that said that Kumar was seen with bullets in the city bus stand.

“At present, only one accused has been named. Others will be added after investigations. This suspect was traced on the basis of CCTV footage”

Probe at Upparpet Police station showed that Kumar had hinted at his connection with Lankesh’s murder when he discussed guns and ammunition with some of his friends from Maddur. Since his arrest on February 18, SIT officials have interrogated him a couple of times.

Case investigation has also revealed that Kumar is a member of a radical Hindutva outfit called the Hindu Yuva Sena. He also has links with members of the Sanatan Sanstha outfit and its affiliate the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. He possessed over 15 rounds of the cartridges of the .32 calibre. They are the same as the 7.65 mm cartridges as a 7.65 mm country-made pistol used to murder Lankesh.

On September 5, 2017 evening, Lankesh was shot dead in the driveway of her home in west Bengaluru. A man riding a motorcycle and wearing helmet shot Lankesh dead. SIT found a CCTV footage where a man had been found rounding up the journalist’s house a few hours before the murder. Also, it found that the unidentified man has a close resemblance to Kumar.

Picture credit- The News Minute

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