SIT arrests Naveen Kumar in Gauri Lankesh murder case

Mourners stand next to a portrait of Gauri Lankesh during the public viewing of her body in Bengaluru

A senior police officer said that Kumar was heading the Hindu Yuva Sena's Maddur unit and had booked a marriage hall in Mandya to hold a huge gathering with Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which is a sister concern of Goa-based Sanathan Sanstha.

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The Special Investigation Team investigating the murder of Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh has made the member of a Hindu right-wing group an accused after questioning him, sources said Friday.

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The 3rd Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate has given the SIT custody of Kumar for 5 days.

The SIT informed the court that it intends to put Kumar through forensic tests such as lie detector, voice sampling, brain mapping and narcoanalysis to ascertain whether he is stating facts during interrogation, as he keeps changing his versions. Earlier on March 3, Naveen Kumar was taken into custody by the Karnataka police for questioning in connection with the case. She was the editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a tabloid known for "anti-establishment" views.

An unidentified gunman had on September 5 past year shot dead Gauri, who was known for her writing against communalism.

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DCP M N Anucheth, the examining officer for the situation, revealed to PTI that Naveen has been named as a charged and captured by the SIT for his claimed association in the Lankesh kill.

Naveen also reportedly was familiar where Gauri Lankesh stayed in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar. The court, however, granted him bail in the arms case. The brazen attack on Lankesh was likened to the assassinations of rationalist thinkers-activists Narendra Dabholkar on 20 August 2013 in Pune, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Govind Pansare on 16 February 2015 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, and M.M. Kalburgi on 30 August 2015 in Dharwad, Karnataka. Naveen's family has maintained that he is innocent and in no way connected to the case.

Investigations by the SIT has unearthed CCTV footage of a man conducting a recce of the home of the journalist a few hours before her killing.

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