One arrested in Gauri Lankesh murder

Bengaluru: A 37-year-old man was arrested on Friday in connection with the murder of Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh six months ago, police said.

“Naveen Kumar has been arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case and evidence collected so far confirm he is an accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder,” SIT Investigation Officer M.N. Anucheth told IANS here.

The accused hails from Birur town in Chikmagalur district, about 250km west from here.

Kumar was taken into custody by the SIT on March 2 for questioning after he was booked by the Crime Branch on February 19 under the Arms Act for illegal possession of 15 bullets of a revolver.

A city court on Friday extended Kumar’s police custody till March 15.

“In the interest of protecting witnesses and further investigation, we cannot reveal his role in the Gauri Lankesh case at this juncture,” Anucheth said.

The court will on March 12 pronounce its order on whether the accused is to undergo narco test.

“Based on certain clues provided by him, the SIT took him into custody for further questioning and investigation,” Anucheth had said earlier.

Lankesh, 55, the Editor of “Lankesh Patrike”, was shot dead outside her residence in the city’s southwestern suburb by unidentified assailants on September 5 last year. Of the seven bullets fired, three hit Lankesh — two in the chest and one in the forehead.

The state government had set up the SIT to probe the killing.

In September last year, the state had announced Rs 10-lakh reward to anyone providing clues/information that could lead to the killers of Lankesh.