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

Mourners stand next to a portrait of Gauri Lankesh during the public viewing of her body in Bengaluru

Mourners stand next to a portrait of Gauri Lankesh during the public viewing of her body in Bengaluru

Ichalkaranjikar, who has been in Bengaluru over the last couple of weeks with a group of advocates to assist Naveen Kumar, told the media that he has come from Maharashtra since he takes up cases of Hindu activists when they are "falsely accused".

In this way after cross-examination, the SIT testing Lankesh's murder brought Naveen into their guardianship on March 2 to address him.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had termed the killing of Gauri Lankesh "an onslaught on humanity" and said that his government would ensure that the culprits were brought to justice. "The evidences collected so far confirm him as an accused in the case and we have thus arrested him", he said.

The SIT informed the court that it intends to put Kumar through forensic tests such as lie detector, voice sampling, brain mapping and narcoanalysis to ascertain whether he is stating facts during interrogation, as he keeps changing his versions.

Lankesh was shot dead at her home in Bengaluru previous year, prompting an outpouring of tributes from her colleagues in the media.

On Friday, Kumar was produced before the magistrate to extend his custody and also presented as an accused. He is reportedly linked to the Sanatan Sanstha outfit and its affiliate the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

People hold placards and candles during a vigil for Gauri Lankesh, a senior Indian journalist who according to police was shot dead outside her home on Tuesday by unidentified assailants in Bengaluru, in Ahmedabad, India, September 6, 2017.

DCP M N Anucheth, the examining officer for the situation, revealed to PTI that Naveen has been named as a charged and captured by the SIT for his claimed association in the Lankesh kill. The SIT had found a Kannada translation of a book by Jayanth Athavale, the founder of Sanathan Sanstha and a Hindu alamanac, published by Sanathan Prabha along with Athavale's photograph along with 10 bullets and other items when they raided his residence in Manya and Birur. He was also at the Sanstha headquarters in Goa for several days a year ago for a conference.

The Karnataka government later formed a 21-member SIT, led by Inspector General of Police B K Singh, to investigate the case.

Kumar's police custody has been extended until 13 March while the next hearing in the case will be on Tuesday (12 March).

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