Gauri Lankesh murder: Sensational disclosure by accused, says cops offered Rs 25 lakh to confess to murder

In a sensational disclosure, a suspect accused in Gauri Lankesh murder case has alleged that the Karnataka police offered him Rs 25 lakh to confess and admit that he had killed the activist-journalist last year. Another suspect claimed that the police forced him to accept the charges by threatening his family.

Parashuram Waghmare, one of the alleged shooters, while being taken to court, told NDTV that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) offered him Rs 25 lakh to accept the crime. Another suspect Manohar Edave denied his involvement in the case and said that the police threatened to incriminate his family and friends unless he confessed to the murder.

Waghmare and Edave are among 12 people arrested in connection with the murder of journalist and social activist Gauri Lankesh.

Lankesh, a fierce critic of the right-wing politics, was murdered outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on 5 September 2017. In June 2018, the SIT said that Parashuram Waghmore confessed to the murder and alleged that he was told to kill someone to save his religion, and mentioned that he did not know who the victim was.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad took custody of two accused this month arrested for Lankesh murder in order to interrogate them in connection with the alleged plot to conduct disruptive activities in Maharashtra.

Last month, Maharashtra police Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested three members of a suspected right-wing Hindutva outfit and seized a huge cache of weapons and explosives. Sudhanwa Gondhalekar, one of the arrested men reportedly confessed to his role in the murder of Lankesh as well as rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi.

It has been alleged that the arrested men have ties with radical Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha which was founded by ‘hypnotherapist’ Jayant Balaji Athavale in 1999.

Source: Times Now

Prominent Goans, social workers, writers, intellectuals demand ban on right-wing Sanatan Sanstha

Panaji, Jul 29: Calling the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha an “extra-constitutional authority” and a “cancer” whose spread should be stopped, prominent activists from Goa have demanded a ban on it.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

The latest catalyst for the demand comes after inputs of a threat to the life of progressive writer Damodar Mauzo.

A special investigation team (SIT) of the Karnataka police, which is probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last September, had told the Goa police about the threat to Mauzo’s life.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The Goa-based right-wing organisation, which has a pan-India presence, however, maintained that the allegations were “baseless”, claiming to have worked in the field of “spirituality” to spread “religious wisdom” about Hinduism.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers, ban it, demands Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo

Mauzo has told PTI that the organisation was a “cancer” which should be stopped from spreading in Goa.

Stressing on the need for such a move, Prashant Naik, a social activist, told PTI that legal luminaries should be roped in by the state government to place before the court the need for a ban.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

“We lost an ‘open-and-shut’ 2009 Margao blast case due to poor legal support during the trial,” he pointed out.

Two men, including one allegedly from the Sanatan Sanstha, died in 2009 while they were transporting explosives to be reportedly planted in a crowded area in Margao.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had charge-sheeted half-a- dozen activists of the Sanstha, but the accused were acquitted by a local court due to lack of evidence.

“The way the Sanatan Sanstha is going about spreading hatred in the society, it should be banned,” Naik added.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

The demand echoed in state Congress president Girish Chodankar. “The Sanatan Sanstha or any organisation that behaves like an extra-constitutional authority should be banned,” he said, highlighting that it had been named in the murder of progressive intellectuals like M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Lankesh.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“When its name figures in all these murder cases, there is no reason why it should be allowed to continue functioning,” the Congress leader said.

Among the prominent institutions of Goa that have demanded a ban on the Sanstha is the Konkani Bhasha Mandal (KBM) — the state’s leading literary institution.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Referring to the threat to Mauzo’s life, the KBM president, Chetan Acharya, said it was the first time that a writer had been threatened in the coastal state.

“Goa is known for its peaceful co-existence and we dont want institutions like the Sanatan Sanstha which work like extra-constitutional bodies,” Acharya said. “We strongly demand a ban on it so that it can’t spread hatred in Goa any further.”

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

However, when contacted, the Sanstha’s spokesperson, Chetan Rajhans, refuted the allegations, claiming that there was no threat to Mauzo’s life, at least from his organisation.

“Is there any official confirmation to the claims that his life is threatened due to the Sanatan Sanstha?” he asked.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

“These are baseless allegations against us by some of the anti-religion writers from Maharashtra and Karnataka who are facing flak after the Sanatan Sanstha started spreading religious awareness and wisdom across India,” Rajhans asserted.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

“Our institution works in the field of spirituality and spreads religious wisdom among the people. All attempts are being made to stop us from doing that,” the spokesperson said, ruling out any involvement of the Sanstha in the killings of Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar and Lankesh.

SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

Just on the heels of the 10th suspect being arrested in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, the Special Investigating Team has now arrested a man who was initially a prime witness in the killing. This brings the total number of arrests to 11 in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

According to an SIT source, sleuths arrested Suresh Kumar, 36-year-old a private school teacher from Kunigal, after receiving information that he had vital information regarding the murder.

Also Read: SIT claims Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 30 targets

The SIT had turned Suresh Kumar into a witness after the investigators found that one of the accused, Amol Kale, was housed by Suresh Kumar at his residence in Seegehalli since mid-June 2017 till the day of the murder.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

SIT sources say that Suresh Kumar had given a statement as a witness, alleging that he helped the accused in the case locate Gauri Lankesh’s house and that he was also instrumental in tracking down some of the accused in the case.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Suresh Kumar was produced before the magistrate and was remanded to judicial custody. The court, however, denied the SIT’s request for 8-day police custody after Suresh alleged that the police had slapped him and assaulted him before arresting him.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

“He also said we (SIT investigators) had coached him to plead guilty. Hence, the court did not grant police custody,” the source said.

According to SIT sources, Suresh Kumar was allegedly a friend of Amol Kale and the two had met at a religious convention of organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. He had allegedly allowed Amol Kale to live in his house for over a month-and-a-half before Gauri Lankesh was killed.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

It was not only Kale, but also the other accused, including Parashuram Waghmore and Manohar Edave, who had allegedly visited Kale at the Seegehalli residence before the murder.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

“Suresh Kumar knew of their plans and he was a witness, but we learnt that he had withheld a lot of crucial information and had obstructed the course of the investigation,” said SIT sources.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

According to Bangalore Mirror, SIT sleuths believe that Suresh Kumar and the other two accused including Mohan Nayak and Ganesh Miskin were the ones who procured and disposed the vehicles used for the crime. The SIT is grilling the suspects to locate the vehicles.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

Suresh Kumar was allegedly first questioned by the SIT in June. Suresh Kumar’s lawyer had filed an application for medical help after alleging that the police had assaulted him. The court accepted the petition and is expected to hear it on Friday, the BM report states.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Currently, the SIT has arrested 11 men and is searching for Amol Kale’s suspected handler Dada alias Nihal.

Earlier, the SIT had arrested Amit Degwekar from Goa, Sujeet Kumar from Shivamogga, Manohar Edave from Vijayapura, KT Naveen Kumar from Maddur and Mohan Nayak from Dakshina Kannada. The SIT believes that Amol Kale and Dada were the planners and had recruited Edave, Degwekar, Waghmore and others to execute the crime.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwari Nagar on the night of September 5, 2017. She had sustained three bullet wounds which proved fatal.

In February, the SIT arrested KT Naveen Kumar. It was only after his arrest that an entire gang of suspects were nabbed.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

The SIT also uncovered the gang’s connection to an underground pro-Hindutva fringe group and that the gang had also conspired to kill several rationalists and progressive thinkers. The SIT had found, in Amol Kale’s diary a list of 36 names, whom the gang had planned to kill.

CBI, Maharashtra CID must diligently probe deaths of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare as liberals fear threat to life: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court said it was incumbent upon the CBI and the Maharashtra CID to conduct a fair probe into the deaths of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare as liberals and activists fear of being targeted if they voice their views in public.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

A bench of justices SC Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre said it was imperative that the CBI and the Maharashtra CID ensure that a fair and impartial probe was conducted into the deaths in the light of this apprehension in the minds of liberals in the country.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

“After the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, some more similar incidents have taken place in the state of Karnataka. There is apprehension in the minds of liberals, and social activists that if they voice their opinions in public then they will be targeted,” the bench said.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

“The authorities thus, must remember that they are obliged to conduct a fair and impartial probe. Also, this court will require a proper explanation on any delays in the investigations,” the bench noted.

The observations came after advocate Abhay Nevagi, the counsel for the family members of Dabholkar and Pansare, informed the high court that the state had enhanced the police security provided to Pansare’s family members.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

“This had made the family anxious, and they were wondering if there was any new threat to their safety,” Nevagi said.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by the kin of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking that the high court monitor the probe in both cases.

On the previous hearing,the HC had noted that the progress reports submitted by the CBI and the state CID into the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, respectively, were “unsatisfactory”.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

It had also summoned the Joint Director CBI, and the Additional Chief Secretary, Maharashtra Home Department.

Today, the CBI joint director and the head of the Maharashtra CID’s Special Investigations Team (SIT) were present in the high court.

The officers requested that they be granted a personal hearing by the bench in its chambers since they had some “sensitive” information related to the investigation into the above cases which they couldn’t share in the open court.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

The bench, however, refused them such hearing stating that doing so would set a precedent.

“If there is some such sensitive information, you (the officials) can put it in writing and submit such report directly to our chambers instead of submitting it in the open court along with the case files,” the bench said.

Dabholkar, known as anti-superstition crusader, was shot dead on August 20, 2013, in Pune while on morning walk.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Left leader Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur. He succumbed to his injuries on February 20.

The CBI and the CID’s SIT probing killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, respectively, have been submitting periodic progress reports before the court in sealed covers.

In the past hearings, both agencies had told the high court that they were coordinating with the Karnataka Police that is probing the killings of writer MM Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

They had also said that they were keeping a watch on certain ‘Sansthas’ or organisations, referring to the Ponda-based Hindu extremist outfit Sanathan Sanstha, which was the nodal point to route funds for the killings.

Hearing a petition for a court-monitored probe into the killings of Pansare and Dabholkar, the high court had last October observed that there has been a “dangerous trend” of eliminating all opposition and liberal values, which is giving the country a bad name.

Source: PTI

Gauri Lankesh murder: Court posts KT Naveen Kumar’s bail plea for orders on Monday

Bengaluru: The 70th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court on Friday posted the orders on a bail petition filed by K.T. Naveen Kumar, the first arrested accused in the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, for Monday after hearing arguments and counter-arguments by the defence and prosecution advocates.

The court proceedings began in the absence of the new prosecutor who did not turn up for two consecutive hearings and the request for more time sought by DCP (Admin) M.N. Anucheth, who is the investigating officer in the case, was dismissed by the court. Naveen’s lawyer Vedamurthy requested the court to not grant more time as the bail petition was already pending before the court for 22 days even after written and oral arguments completed.

Mr Anucheth told the court that Naveen who initially agreed to undergo the narco-analysis test later refused after reaching Ahmedabad where the test was to be conducted. He submitted that the FSL scientist who interrogated Naveen at the COD headquarters also stated that many details hint at Naveen’s involvement in the murder and that granting him bail when half-a-dozen accused had been arrested would impede the investigation.

Justice Ramalinge Gowda termed the interrogation by the FSL scientist as a violation of fundamental right when Naveen’s lawyer Vedamurthy told the court that the interrogation was carried out when Naveen had no advocate.

Mr Vedamurthy submitted that the SIT did not inform him about the date of the narco-analysis test and took Naveen alone with them violating the court guidelines.

After listening to both the sides, Justice Ramalinge Gowda posted the orders on bail for Monday.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the cold-blooded murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has revealed many chilling details.

Sources in the SIT say that Parashuram Waghmore, the man accused of shooting Gauri, was shown videos of her speeches to instigate him.

“When search operations were conducted in several locations in Karnataka, several gadgets and diaries were recovered from the accused. A video was found in Amol Kale’s tablet. It was a speech made by Gauri Lankesh in Mangaluru, about rejecting communal elements. This video was shown to Parashuram Waghmore and he was told that Gauri was against Hindu gods and must be killed,” SIT sources revealed.

Sources say that Waghmore was initially paid an advance of Rs 3,000 for travel expenses and later given Rs 10,000 after he allegedly shot and killed the journalist.

Six men affiliated to the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti were arrested in connection with the murder of Gauri Lankesh. Amol Kale (37) from Pune, Sujeet Kumar (38) from Shikaripura, Amit Degwekar (38) from Goa and Manohar Edave (29) from Vijayapura were allegedly involved in recruiting around 60 people in Karnataka for covert activities, the SIT has found.

The investigators also found that the recruits were members of pro-Hindutva outfits and were handpicked by Amol Kale and his handlers, and trained to handle guns and petrol bombs.

An SIT source said that half of these recruits have been identified and reported to the internal security department of the Karnataka State Police.

Among those who were recruited and trained was Parashuram Waghmore, a former activist of the Sri Rama Sene and resident of Vijayapura, and KT Naveen Kumar, who was recruited to provide logistical support in the alleged plot to kill Professor KS Bhagwan in Mysuru.

“The information about those recruited by Amol Kale and Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen was found in Kale’s diary. It also had the names of 36 writers and thinkers, who we suspect were potential targets of the group. Kale and Sujeet Kumar were the primary recruiters and trainers of these potential assassins,” the SIT source said.

The SIT source said that Sujeet Kumar was allegedly in-charge of identifying those who would fit the profile set by the group as “potential assassins”.

The recruits were allegedly trained secretly in the use of petrol bombs for causing disruptions and also in the use of guns.

Waghmore was allegedly recruited by Sujeet Kumar after being released from prison for causing violence in Vijayapura after he hoisted the Pakistan flag in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in 2012.

“The profile that Sujeet Kumar and his gang were looking for had a few criteria. The recruit should have been someone who was firstly a member of a pro-Hindutva group. The person had to have been willing to take any step to protect the Hindutva ideology. Sujeet Kumar was in charge of scouting for these recruits,” the SIT source said.

Sujeet Kumar would then recommend the names of these potential recruits to Amol Kale, who was in-charge of scrutinising the persons who were recommended.

“Even in Gauri Lankesh’s case, Sujeet Kumar recommended Waghmore to Kale. After scrutinising his background and convincing Waghmore that Gauri must be killed, he was trained in the use of firearms by Kale,” the source said.

The covert group had allegedly identified potential candidates for carrying out underground activities and their meetings would take place through gatherings of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Sri Rama Sene, Hindu Yuva Sene and other smaller groups.

“Sujeet Kumar would meet them in conventions organised by these groups. His job was to closely note every speech made at these conventions and pick out those persons who were likely to use force to protect the Hindutva agenda. He recruited KT Naveen Kumar after hearing his speech on how the use of firearms was necessary to ward of an alleged threat to Hindu religion,” the SIT source added.

The SIT suspects that this covert group was also involved in similar activities in other states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

“It is possible that this covert group was formed because the Dharma Shakti Sena (DSS) was dissolved. DSS was created by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti in 2008 to provide training in firearms and martial arts for Hindu youths. Their ideology was that an army was necessary to protect Hindu religion. It is possible that this group emerged as a successor of the DSS as it was not possible for them to operate openly,” the source added.

Source: The News Minute

36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

Bengaluru: A diary seized from Gauri Lankesh murder suspect Amol Kale has revealed chilling details of not only the senior journalist’s murder but also details of plans to target 36 others.

While most of the targets identified in the diary are from Maharashtra, 10 are from Karnataka, sources close to the investigation told CNN-News18. Those marked for assassination in Karnataka include women activists deemed by the conspirators to be “anti-Hindu”, they added.

The diary is mostly written in code and besides targets, it also identifies 50 potential ‘shooters’ from Maharashtra and Karnataka to be recruited for the operations. Some of them were being trained in the use of firearms like guns, pistols, air guns and to make petrol bombs in Belgaum, Hubli and Pune, the diary reportedly revealed.

According to sources, the diary further revealed that Kale zeroed in on the shooters during conclaves held by Hindutva outfits in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa based on who among them was “the most daring”.

Parshuram Waghmare, who allegedly pulled the trigger on Lankesh outside her home on September 5 last year, was chosen for the “daring” he had showed in 2012 by hoisting a Pakistani flag to stir up communal trouble in his hometown in Vijayapura district .

Waghmare was allegedly paid Rs 3,000 in advance for bus charges and food expenses before the murder and Rs 10,000 for a job “well done” a month later.

Lankesh was killed by two bike-borne men outside her home on the night of September 5, 2017 while returning from office. The SIT has arrested six people in connection with the case and are on the lookout for at least three co-conspirators. The accused allegedly killed Lankesh because of what they believed were “anti-Hindu” views.

The SIT has established that the weapon used to kill Lankesh was the same one that was used to kill Professor Kalburgi three years ago, and Left-leaning thinker Govind Pansare before that in Mumbai.

Source: CNN-News18