15 Oct 2017

SIT releases sketches of suspects in Gauri Lankesh killing

SIT Chief BK Singh said that there was no bias in the investigation and they had questioned 200-250 people so far.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on September 5 on the doorstep of her house in Bengaluru. (Photo: ANI | Twitter)

Bengaluru: Over a month after noted journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was gunned down outside her home in Bengaluru by a lone gunman, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder released the sketches of two suspects involved in the act and a crucial video of the killer, taken from CCTV footage, that shows him driving past Lankesh’s home exactly four hours before he came back and shot her dead.
“We have identified two suspects based on information from our technical team as well as locals in the area and the account of eyewitnesses,” IGP (Intelligence) B.K. Singh, who heads the SIT, said on Saturday. Investigators did not reveal the identity of the eyewitnesses they had spoke to.

While the SIT has been unable to put names to the faces, by releasing the three sketches of two suspects prepared by professional artists based on different eyewitnesses accounts, CCTV footage and the video of one of the suspects carrying out a recce of area surrounding Lankesh’s house just four hours before she was shot dead, it is trying to show that they are making progress.

Police said that based on the CCTV footage they had obtained, going back a week prior to the shooting, the suspects seemed to be aged between 27 and 35.

“In a CCTV footage, the assailant has briefly upped the visor of his helmet which gave us a hint about his eyes and nose. It is suspected that the accused stayed in the area nearby the residence of Lankesh for more than a week and information from the public may result in cracking the case,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Singh ruled out professional rivalry angle as the motive behind the murder and said that all other angles, including activism and personal rivalry, were being thoroughly probed. He also maintained that they had found no link so far between the murders of Lankesh and other prominent rationalists — Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi.

“We are yet to receive the bullets from agencies investigating the murder of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi. In Ms. Lankesh’s case, the assailants used country-made 7.65 mm pistol,” Mr. Singh added.

On reports linking the murder to particular organisations, Mr Singh clarified that the SIT does not back theories floated by the media. Commenting on one of the suspects sporting a tilak and wearing an earring, Mr Singh said that the religion of the suspect based on that cannot be ascertained as there was a possibility he could have done it to mislead the investigation.

Describing the sketches as “quite accurate”, deputy commissioner of police (West) M.N. Anucheth, who is main investigation officer, said that the sketches were not computer generated but painted by professional artists and each one took more than 48 hours to complete.

The SIT so far has proceeded cautiously, claiming it has not yet got any concrete evidence and nor does it have any solid clues in the case and is still seeking information from the public to nab the accused.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house on September 5 following which the government set up an SIT to investigate the case.
Source - Asian Age

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