Nearly five years after journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was shot down, a sessions court in Bengaluru started the trial of the case on Monday (July 5).
Two of the undertrials are lodged in a Mumbai prison and one is in Pune and the rest of the accused are in Bangalore’s Parppana Agrahara prison. All the accused allegedly belonged to right-wing groups.
On Monday, the trial started with the presence of the accused through video-conferencing (from prisons) and the court recorded the statement of Lankesh’s younger sister Kavita Lankesh, who reportedly met a couple of accused after two months after the murder.
On Tuesday, the evidence (bullets, cartridges, clothes, CCTV visuals and other materials) collected from the home of Lankesh (where she was murdered) was produced before the court.
The Special Investigating Team framed the charges (Section 302 (murder), Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), Karnataka Organised Crime Act and Arms) against the accused after two years after the delay due to COVID.
According to the charge sheet, the accused were trained in using explosives and guns and allegedly hatched a plot to attack Lankesh between 2013 and 2018 after laying out a plan to kill “all such activists in Karnataka and Maharashtra”.
Gauri Lankesh was gunned down on September 7, 2017, near her residence at Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bangalore West. Seventeen accused have been arrested and are serving as undertrials in the prison, where one accused Vikas Patil alias Dada is absconding.