SIT headed by IG-level officer will probe Gauri Lankesh's death: Siddaramaiah

Published: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 07:42 Updated: Fri, 09/08/2017 - 08:19

Prominent journalist was shot dead in front of her by unknown assailants in a pattern that is consistent with the death of MM Kalburgi

 

Bengaluru: Police have formed three teams and spread a dragnet to arrest motorcycle-born assailants of a progressive thinker and firebrand Journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead in front of her house in the city yesterday.

Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said three police teams have been formed and the police have been probing from all angles the motive behind the heinous crime. He said though there was a similarity between the killings of another Social thinker Prof M M Kalaburgi in Dharwad two years ago, it was too early to conclude and a thorough probe would throw the motive of the killers.

He said at least four rounds were fired at her by the killers who, according to the initial investigation, were waiting in front of her house and soon they fled. Police sources said that they have been studying the call details on her mobile phone as well as data from nearly mobile towers to gain clues. Police are also studying over 500 CCTV data along the path of her office to home before she returned to her Rajarajeshwari Nagar residence.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who is getting constant updates from the Home department said it was a dastardly and a cowardly act against free press and democracy. He stressed that there was no Intelligence report about the threat to her life and she had also not sought any police protection.

"We will find her killers. The police have set up roadblocks at various places. Checkpoints around Bengaluru are being monitored. We have some intel (on this case)...There are four lines of inquiry being pursued by the police. We will set up an SIT headed by an IG-level officer. The investigating officer will be an SP," he further added.

He mentioned only a thorough investigation would reveal whether there was any similarity among the killings of Prof Kalburgi in Karnataka and Pansare and Dhabolkar in Maharashtra. "The probe conducted by the state (Karnataka) is not reliable," BJP leader, Ananth Kumar said in a press conference. He also said that the BJP wanted a CBI probe of this murder. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has described the murder as ‘most unfortunate’ and ‘very alarming’ and seek justice in the gruesome murder.

 Daughter of late P Lankesh, who launched famous weekly 'Lankesh Patrike' known for its anti-establishment views, Gauri continued the legacy opening a separate edition called Gauri Lankesh Patrike after her father’s death in 2000. A firebrand journalist herself, Gauri remained a most prominent anti-establishment voice in Karnataka and one of the few Editors of a successful publication.

She always voiced her concerns against Hindutva and activities of right-wing organisations and had invited ire from political parties and even judiciary with her hard hitting articles.

Meanwhile, the post-mortem on the body of Gauri which was shifted to Victoria Hospital last night was conducted this morning. Sources said she had died instantaneously after three bullets pierced her body, two in her chest and the other on the forehead.

Her brother Indrajit Lankesh and sister Kavitha Lankesh visited the hospital today and the former said the body will be kept for public viewing in the city and later the burial will take place in Chamarajpet burial ground.

Eyewitness reports said they heard bullet firing sounds and first felt it was due to the bursting of crackers. A neighbour who first saw the body of Gauri lying in a pool of blood on the front porch of her home called the ambulance and the body was shifted to the hospital.