Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Gauri Lankesh murder: Accused sent to SIT custody for 5 days

Gauri Lankesh murder: Accused sent to SIT custody for 5 days

Kumar secured bail in the illegal arms case on Friday but will remain in the custody of the SIT which is probing his alleged role in the Lankesh murder case, according to Veda Murthy, the defense counsel in the case.

VN Vedhmurthy, Naveen's lawyer said Naveen has claimed that he was arrested from Mandya and was not in Bengaluru on February 18. Accused Naveen Kumar had objected to undergoing this test when he was in the custody of the SIT.

KT Naveen Kumar, 37, who was apprehended by the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) for questioning earlier this month, has been named as the first accused in the murder case of the journalist.

SIT investigation officer M N Anucheth confirmed the development to Naveen Kumar. "He has been taken into five days' police custody", the officer said.

The advocate, Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, who is head of the Sanstha-linked Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, was part of a press conference of Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) on the Gauri Lankesh case in September a year ago.

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On September 5, 2017, Gauri was shot dead by unknown by assailants outside her residence in Bengaluru.

The killing of the journalist had drawn widespread condemnation and the Siddaramaiah government had come under flak for not making any headway in nabbing the culprits.

In an interview to Reuters in 2015, the members of the Sanatan Sanstha said they were preparing for the advent of a divine Hindu kingdom in India.

Naveen also reportedly was familiar where Gauri Lankesh stayed in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar. Links between Kumar and the Sanstha emerged after evidence surfaced that Kumar had organised a meeting of the Sanstha and the HJS in his hometown, Maddur, last November. It was at this time that the prosecutor handed over a sealed envelope to the court and elaborated that Naveen had been officially arrested by the SIT in the Gauri Lankesh murder case. "Naveen also had a few links with people in Belagavi who are alleged to be arms dealers and it has led us to bring him there", a police source said.

Kumar's family has maintained that he was innocent and in no way connected to the case.

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