Post gun recovery from sea, cops say Gauri Lankesh, Kalburgi murders linked

In the wee hours of Friday (July 03), a deputy superintendent of police three sub-inspectors and four constables were killed in an ambush in Bikru. Photo: iStock

A special team that investigated murders of both journalist Gauri Lankesh and Kanada scholar MM Kalburgi said they are awaiting for forensic reports on a gun recovered from the Arabian Sea to assure that if it was the same used in two murders.

The SIT of Karnataka on Sunday said that the team is awaiting for the reports of the gun recovered in a search operation coordinated by the CBI as part of the probe.

A gun was reportedly found in the seabed of Mumbai-Nashik highway.

After the recovery the agency roped Maharashtra police and Karnataka police, since it found that, Sharad Kalaskar (26), a key suspect in the Dabholkar murder case, said that four guns used since 2013 in a series of murders by a right-wing extremist group were dismantled and dumped.

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According to The Indian Express, the agency has stated that the killings of Dabholkar in 2013, Leftist thinker from Maharashtra Govind Pansare and Kalburgi in 2015 and Lankesh in 2017 are forensically linked as investigations have revealed that two specific guns were used in these murders by a right-wing extremist group with its roots in fringe groups like Sanatan Sanstha.

On whether the gun was used in the murders carried out by the right-wing group, “We need to get more details from the CBI. A forensic report will settle the issue,’’ TNIE quoted a source in the SIT as saying.

The SIT filed a report at a court in Dharwad last month in connection with the Kalburgi murder case, stating that the gun used for the murder had not been recovered.

Investigations revealed that, in 2015, the Karnataka State Forensic Science Laboratory had tested bullets and cartridges used in the murder of 77-year-old Kalburgi and the ones recovered from the site of Pansare’s (81) murder. The analysis had shown that one of the two country-made guns used in Pansare shooting was used to shoot Kalburgi.

It also added that, the ballistic evidence also stated that a second countrymade gun used in Pansare’s murder was used to gun down rationalist Dabholkar (69) in Maharashtra.

Following the murder of Lankesh, it revealed that the gun used to shoot Kalburgi was the same gun as the one used to kill the journalist.

As many as 25 persons of the core extremist groups have been named for involvement in the murders and terrorist activities that have occurred since 2013, The Indian Express reported.

Kalaskar, one of the accused in the Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Lankesh cases, and one of two alleged shooters of Dabholkar, revealed after his arrest in August 2018 that he was instructed by leaders of the group — Rushikesh Deodikar and a lawyer Sanjay Punalekar — to destroy the guns used in the murders.

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