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India: Gauri Lankesh murder probe - Second suspect tied to Goa blast, is an activist of Sanatan Sanstha, the radical Hindutva outfit

Saturday 17 March 2018, by siawi3

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gauri-lankesh-murder-probe-second-suspect-tied-to-goa-blast-5099505/

India: Gauri Lankesh murder probe - Second suspect tied to Goa blast, is an activist of Sanatan Sanstha, the radical Hindutva outfit

Gauri Lankesh murder probe: Second suspect tied to Goa blast
Three other men linked to the Sanatan Sanstha — Jayaprakash alias Anna, 45, from Mangalore; Sarang Akolkar, 38, from Pune; and, Rudra Patil, 37, from Sangli — are also accused in the case and have been declared missing.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru |

Updated: March 16, 2018 8:23 am

A second suspect identified in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh could be a man from Maharashtra who was declared missing and against whom an Interpol red-corner notice was issued at the instance of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for links to a bomb blast in Goa nine years ago, official sources told The Indian Express.

Sources identified this suspect as Praveen Limkar, a 34-year-old from Kolhapur and an activist of Sanatan Sanstha, the radical Hindutva outfit. Limkar had been declared missing along with four others after he was accused by the NIA of playing a major role in an October 19, 2009, blast in Madgaon where two Sanatan Sanstha men were killed while transporting an IED to be planted at a Diwali programme, said sources.

Three other men linked to the Sanatan Sanstha — Jayaprakash alias Anna, 45, from Mangalore; Sarang Akolkar, 38, from Pune; and, Rudra Patil, 37, from Sangli — are also accused in the case and have been declared missing.

Read | ‘Impressed’ by role in Gauri Lankesh killing, accused was given second target: Bengaluru Police

The NIA has listed the four missing men among its most wanted suspects, with red corner notices having been issued against their names by Interpol.
On March 9, the Karnataka police Special Investigation Team (SIT) identified the second suspect as “Praveen”, following the arrest seven days earlier of K T Naveen Kumar, a 37-year-old activist of the Hindu Yuva Sena with links to the Sanstha. Lankesh, 55, was shot outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017.

Read | Gauri Lankesh murder probe: SIT exploring conducting various tests on accused, says official

According to sources, Kumar claimed that “Praveen’’ worked with him in surveying the home of Lankesh, who was an outspoken critic of radical Hindutva groups. Investigators zeroed in on Limkar after comparing descriptions provided by Kumar and other witnesses who had reported seeing the second suspect in the early part of investigations, sources said.
“The pictures available for Praveen Limkar are quite old and there is no 100 percent guarantee that the person identified is the same individual,’’ sources said.

Gauri Lankesh, Gauri Lankesh killer, Gauri Lankesh murder case, Karnataka Journalist murder, Hindu Yuva Sena, Naveen Kumar, Sanatan Sanstha, Lankesh Patrike, Indian Express A protest against the murder of Gauri Lankesh in New Delhi. Gauri was killed outside her house in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. (Express Photo/Tashi Tobgyal/File) Limkar was a journalist actively involved in the activities of the Sanstha, according to investigations in Maharashtra in the shooting of the rationalist, Narendra Dabholkar, in Pune in 2013.

The Sanstha has claimed that it cannot be held responsible for its missing members. Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru after the Lankesh murder, an advocate of the Sanstha, Sanjay Punalekar, had claimed that some members may be absconding from the law out of fear of being wrongly accused in criminal cases.

Kumar, the first to be arrested in the case, was detained under the jurisdiction of the Upparpet police station in Bengaluru on February 18 based on a complaint filed by a crime branch officer that he was found carrying prohibited bullets at the city bus stand.

After investigations revealed links between Kumar and the murder of Lankesh, the SIT placed him under arrest. Links between Kumar and the Sanstha emerged in the course of investigations, including evidence that he had organised a meeting of the Sanstha and its sister unit, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, in his hometown Maddur in 2017.

A forensic analysis of four empty cartridges and the four bullets fired to kill Lankesh has shown that markings on them match with those found on the bullets and cartridges fired to kill the Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi, 77, in the northern Karnataka town of Dharwad on August 30, 2015.
Forensic analysis suggests that Lankesh and Kalburgi were shot with the same 7.65 mm pistol, suggesting the involvement of one outfit or group behind the two killings.

The findings from the comparison of ballistic evidence from the Lankesh and Kalburgi cases adds to existing evidence from the shooting of leftist thinker Govind Pansare, 81, in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015 — the same 7.65 mm countrymade gun used in the Kalburgi murder was found to have been used.
A comparison of ballistic evidence found in the Pansare case with that of evidence in the shooting of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, in Pune on August 20, 2013, has revealed that the second gun used to shoot at Pansare was used to shoot Dabholkar.