The special investigation team (SIT) on Saturday evening released its first statement after filing an additional charge sheet in the murder case of journalist Gauri Lankesh who, according to the agency, was killed by an “organised crime syndicate”. In its 9,235-page charge sheet filed before the Principal Civil and Sessions court on Friday, the SIT stated that Lankesh was targeted by the Sanatan Sanstha for no personal reasons but for her ideology. The SIT charge sheet also stated that the right-wing Hindu outfit planned the killing for almost five years. It has accused 18 people, two of whom are still missing, of being involved in the conspiracy, either directly or indirectly.
“Organized Crime Syndicate which was formed in year 2010-11 under the leadership of Dr. Virendra Tawade. One former editor of Sanatan Prabhat provided financial support to this Syndicate,” the SIT said in the statement.
Organized Crime Syndicate which was formed in year 2010-11 under the leadership of Dr. Virendra Tawade. One former editor of Sanatan Prabhat provided financial support to this Syndicate: SIT on Gauri Lankesh murder case pic.twitter.com/3M6JqfeXV4— ANI (@ANI) November 24, 2018
"The members of this organization targeted persons who they identified to be inimical to their belief and ideology. They members strictly followed the guidelines and principles mentioned in 'Kshatra Dharma Sadhana', a book published by Sanatan Sanstha," the SIT added.
“The first breakthrough in the case happened when the material objects recovered from the scene of the crime were analysed at the State Forensic Science Laboratory, Bangalore. The forensic ballistic analysis established that the pistol used to murder Lankesh was the same pistol used to murder MM Kalburgi in Dharwad, Karnataka and Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, Maharashtra,” the SIT said.
The 55-year-old journalist-activist was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. The murder of the noted scribes, known for her fearless writing and left-leaning ideology, triggered a massive nationwide outrage, which led to the then Siddaramaiah-led government to order the SIT probe into the case.
According to reports, 18 people, including shooter Parashuram Waghmare, masterminds Amol Kale, Sujith Kumar alias Praveen and Amit Degwekar, have been accused in the crime so far.
"The killer and the killed have no personal or any other enmity. Why she was killed? Because she believed in certain ideology, she wrote and spoke on that. So, it must be an ideology and it must be an organisation," Special Public Prosecutor S Balan told PTI.
The SIT has also sought permission to investigate the case further. The first charge sheet in the sensational case was filed in May last.