Bengaluru: In a major breakthrough in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, KT Naveen Kumar has confessed to being involved in the killing of the journalist-activist. It has been nine months since Lankesh was shot by two assailants at point-blank range in front of her home in Banshankari, on September 5, 2017.
Reportedly, Kumar told police that he had given the ammunition to a right-wing activist, Praveen, who informed him that the bullets were for Gauri Lankesh because she was “anti-Hindu”.
Kumar and another accused, Praveen, had admitted to having issued death threats on September 9, 2015, to Prof. K S Bhagwan, a Mysuru-based rationalist writer.
The 650-page chargesheet that was filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) before the session court in May 2018, contains Kumar’s confession, which is a 12-page statement. The chargesheet also contains 131 statements from witnesses, family members and experts consulted during the course of the investigation.
A detailed map of the route leading to Lankesh’s residence, that was drawn up by the killers, was also included in Kumar’s statement. The map showed various angles of the house. Kumar has, however, denied having killed Lankesh and his family too, has backed his claims.
Kumar, an illegal arms dealer, is also a member of a pro-Hindu cadre and founded the Hindu Yuva Sene in 2014, police said. He was a commerce student in a college in Mysuru but, dropped out after reportedly being influenced by right-wing ideology.
According to Kumar’s confession, Praveen had approached him when he was in need of bullets and explained that they were to be used to kill Lankesh as she was “anti-Hindu”. The bullets supplied by Kumar turned out to be duds after which Praveen approached him for better bullets. Kumar was unable to procure more bullets for Praveen and wasn’t able to convey the same to his client as he did not use a cell phone, he said in his statement to the police.
Kumar came to know about the murder of Gauri Lankesh on the very day that she was killed, from newspapers, when he was in Mangaluru.