Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh murder case has arrested a 26-year-old youth in connection with the murder.
The arrested has been identified as Parashuram Wagmare from Sindhagi in Vijayapura district of Karnataka.
He was produced before the 3rd Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Court and the Judge has remanded him to 14 days Police custody for further interrogation. SIT, in a release yesterday, has said that his role in the conspiracy and other details will be revealed later as it would affect the investigation at this stage.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead when she was opening the doors of her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on Sept. 5 last year. Police have already arrested five people in connection with the murder. SIT has confirmed that the same gun was used in the murder of Research scholar and critic Prof. M.M. Kalburgi at his residence in 2016.
From Sindhagi, Wagmare alias Parashu, alias Kohli, alias Builder, worked in his uncle’s utensils store. Sources said Wagmare has a criminal record in Karnataka and was one of six men associated with the radical right-wing Sri Rama Sena arrested for hoisting the Pakistan flag in Sindhagi town in 2012 in an attempt to foment communal trouble.
Wagmare was arrested at his home in Sindhagi after investigations in the aftermath of the arrest of four men linked to the radical right-wing group Sanathan Sanstha and its affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) on May 31.
Wagmare’s name emerged from documents seized from the four suspects Amit Kale, 37, a key operative in a covert activities unit of the Santa Sanstha and a former convenor of the HJS in Pune, Amit Degwekar, 38, a resident of the Sanathan Sanstha Ashram in Ponda in Goa, Manohar Edave, 29, an alleged recruiter of radical youths from Vijayapura and Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen, 37, a former HJS activist from Udupi involved in underground activities in recent years.
Wagmare was identified under a code name in a diary found in Kale’s possession, which helped Police locate the suspect, sources said. Wagmare was eventually detained by the SIT after he matched the height and weight profile of the man who shot Gauri provided by technical experts who analysed CCTV footage captured outside her home.
Wagmare stands at around five feet and is well-built like the suspect seen in the surveillance footage walking up to shoot Gauri Lankesh while she was opening the gate to her house on September 5, 2017, sources said.
Wagmare is alleged to have stayed at a house in Bengaluru that was allegedly provided by Sujeet Kumar for nearly three months in the run-up to the murder. A second house was also used as a base for a shorter duration, sources said. The discovery of one of these houses also provided the SIT with key information that led to the identification of Wagmare as a prime suspect in the plot to kill Gauri Lankesh.