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KT Naveen Kumar arrested in Gauri Lankesh murder case: Accused allegedly has links with Sanatan Sanstha

Six months after the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, investigators have arrested KT Naveen Kumar, and named him as the first accused in the case, CNN-News18 reported. The police are currently seeking permission to conduct a lie detector test on Kumar, CNN-News18 further reported.

Kumar was taken into custody on 3 March by the Karnataka SIT for questioning. His arrest on Friday is an indication that he is no more just a person of interest in the case and that there is scope for more details to crop up. The accused hails from Birur town in Chikkamagaluru district, about 250 kilometre west from Bengaluru.

File image of protests after Gauri Lankesh's murder. PTI

File image of protests after Gauri Lankesh's murder. PTI

He is reportedly linked to the Sanatan Sanstha outfit and its affiliate the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. The investigators had arrested him earlier after finding him in possession of more than 15 rounds of the cartridges of the .32 calibre.

The radical outfit has been linked in Maharashtra to the shooting of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

According to The Indian Express, investigations have shown that Kumar alluded to his links with Lankesh's murder during conversations about guns and ammunition with his friends in Maddur.

Deccan Chronicle, however, quoted sources who said that there is "no police dossier on the man”, except for a two-year-old FIR in a church attack case in Mandya in which Kumar was named as a co-accused. On Wednesday, Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy has assured that the SIT would soon reveal details on Kumar's detention. "The investigation is coming to an end," he had said.

Lankesh, 55, the editor of Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead outside her residence in the city's southwestern suburb by unidentified assailants on 5 September, 2017. She was an activist and a vocal critic of right-wing politics.

Protests in several parts of the country had emerged after the killing as journalists drew attentions towards"increasing intolerance against criticism".

The Karnataka government set up the SIT to probe the journalist's killing.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 09, 2018 15:51 PM

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