BENGALURU: With the arrest of 12 men in connection with the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, the special investigation team (SIT) says it is not only moving closer to solving the case, but has also dismantled the entire team that was set up to eliminate progressive writers and thinkers in Karnataka, claims a report in The New Indian Express (TNIE).
It is learnt that the leaders of the radical outfit, allegedly floated by a right-wing organisation, that carried out the murder of Gauri and scholar Dr M M Kalburgi, in which arrests have to be made yet, had trained more than 20 youths in using firearms.
During the course of the probe, the SIT had zeroed in on over 20 youths recruited by Amol Kale alias Bhaisaab, the head of operations of the covert team in Karnataka, and his associates Sujith Kumar alias Praveen and Manohar Edave alias Manoj.
They included some of the accused arrested in connection with Gauri’s murder.
“The recruits were spread across the state and all of them were summoned for questioning. Only after we were convinced that they were not involved in Gauri Lankesh’s murder, they were let off with a stern warning. Many of them have admitted that accused Rajesh D Bangera had trained them in firing pistols. Some of them will be treated as witnesses in the case,” a SIT official said.
The SIT believes that it has identified everyone who was trained by the gang and hopes that murders or attacks on rationalists and writers will not recur in the state, at least for some years.
“We have not spared even a single person associated with the gang and have gathered details of each. Their activities will be on the police radar, as we have shared their details with agencies concerned, including the state Intelligence and the jurisdictional police,” the official added.
Amol Kale’s arrest is also touted as a major setback to the covert operations team.
“As Kale did everything, from recruiting new members to planning and executing murders, his arrest itself is a blow to his team and its members. Besides, key recruiters like Sujith Kumar and Manohar Edave, trainer Rajesh Bangera and other key members have also been arrested. The team has been left without leadership. Also, with each of its member being identified, we could say it’s almost impossible for them to rebuild the team,” the officer said.