Man who gave Naveen the bullets to be case witness
Officials say Naveen tailed Lankesh from her house to office and back, at least thrice
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case has decided to record the statement of the man, who had supplied bullets to KT Naveen Kumar, before a magistrate and include him as a witness to bolster the case against the assailants. It is suspected that this man has some link with a city-based armoury.
Naveen took the ammo and handed it and a country made gun over to the main shooter, reportedly a Maharashtrian to murder Gauri Lankesh. Naveen was arrested last week for his alleged links with a fourmember gang that was directly involved in gunning down the journalist outside her residence at Raja Rajeshwari Nagar on September 5, 2017. Naveen has also divulged information on a man named Praveen, who was supervising the operation and giving him instructions.
“It seems the firearm used in the murder was sourced by a Bijapurbased gun runner from Madhya Pradesh and handed over to Naveen. He later got the bullets from Bengaluru. Naveen was directly appointed by Praveen, who was supervising the logistic parts of the operation like arranging the gun, ammo, etc. The man could also have been using a false alias,” said sources.
Naveen has reportedly confessed that he was entrusted with the task of tailing Gauri throughout the day and keeping a watch on her movements. He has also reportedly confessed he used to tail her to her office on his motorcycle and used to hang around at Gandhi Bazaar next to her office till she left for anywhere else and then follow her back home. Naveen has told the cops that they started keeping a tab on her daily routine from mid-July 2017.
“He (Naveen) has claimed he did this on three days, including once about 10 days prior to her murder. But it seems he was using a Bajaj Calibre bike and not a Pulsar bike as captured on the CCTV footage, indicating that more than one person could have been entrusted with the task,” said sources.
Gauri had reportedly told her sister Kavita Lankesh and mother Indira Lankesh that she had seen suspicious persons outside her residence about a week before her murder. “Yes, the family had informed the local police about this,” police officials added.
Sources also said Naveen was refusing to divulge any details about the rest of the persons involved in the operation leaving no option but to conduct a narco test on him. The SIT had also formally requested for the assistance of an Assistant Director rank officer from CBI, Maharashtra, to assist them by conducting ‘interactive sessions’ with Naveen to confirm whether he is telling the truth.
“Naveen was restricted to Hindu Yuva Sena, but in January 2017, he was invited for a function which was organised by a Goa-based outfit during which he was initiated into their group,” sources added. Sources added Naveen had claimed the firearm was given to him in Ooty a month before the murder, but that proved to be a false lead. Apart from Naveen, it is suspected that a four-member gang consisting of three youths, including Praveen with links in Mangaluru and the Maharshtrian shooter, were directly involved in Gauri’s murder.
Kumar will undergo narco; sent to jail |
How Lankesh SIT ensured Kumar stays in custody
Hint: Dreamz Infra realty cheating case
Once bitten, twice shy, they say. Stung by the Sachin Naik case — where the accused walked free despite over 30 cases of cheating against him – the police took remedial action and managed to secure the custody of KT Naveen Kumar for his alleged role in Gauri Lankesh’s murder.
Kumar had been picked up by Central Crime Branch on February 18 from near Majestic bus stand; five live .32 bore bullets were recovered from him. The Special Investigation Team later took custody of Kumar and while that was supposed to expire on Friday, the police made a clever move and arrested Kumar. The gamble paid off as Kumar was granted bail in the bullet seizure case; had the police not formally arrested him and shown the arrest memo to the third additional chief metropolitan magistrate court – where his case was heard – Kumar’s lawyers would have pressed for his release.
Naik’s case seems to have played a huge role in the SIT’s move to arrest Kumar before the bail plea came up for hearing. Naik, the alleged mastermind in the Dreamz Infra realty scam where investors were promised apartments but cheated of over Rs 1,000 crore, managed to walk out of police custody in September despite having over 30 cases registered against him.
There was a legal loophole in Naik’s case. It seems the police had just recorded his arrest in one case and were taking Naik on custody through body warrant in rest of the cases and returning him to Parappana Agrahara prison on expiry of his custody duration. So all his legal team had to do was to secure bail in just the single case in which he was formally arrested to ensure his freedom.
The SIT did not want a repeat of the Naik case with Kumar.
“Earlier police never used to submit arrest memos to court if one person is accused in multiple cases. That is what happened in the case of Sachin Naik. He was formally arrested only in one case in which he secured bail and was being taken on body warrant in other cases. Naik’s lawyers could claim that since he was out on bail, he could not be held in custody in the remaining cases as he had not been formally arrested,” said Nirmal Rani, Additional Public Prosecutor.
Nirmal Rani added that Kumar securing bail in the Majestic ammo seizure case will not affect the Gauri Lankesh case as the SIT managed to submit the arrest memo and formally pronounce Kumar as an accused in the case. She said that taking a cue from the Naik fiasco, the prosecution team always makes it a point to ensure that the cops should submit the arrest memo to the court after taking the accused into custody and formalise the arrest (Kumar wasn’t formally arrested – until Friday — even though he was picked up on February 18).
“It just makes the case legally stronger. If the person is not under arrest in one particular case and has been granted bail in the only case in which he was arrested then legally it won’t be viable to keep him in custody,” said sources.
Naveen Kumar was initially secured with five live .32 bullets from Majestic bus stand area on February 18 and formally arrested and charged under the Arms Act on February 19. He was later taken on body warrant into police custody on March 2 by the SIT citing that he was a ‘person of interest’ in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.
Journalist and former Bangalore Mirror columnist Gauri Lankesh was shot multiple times outside her Raja Rajeshwari Nagar house on September 5 when she returned from work. The assailant has so far not been identified even though Kumar has mentioned a certain Praveen’s involvement.
SIT names Naveen accused in Gauri murder case
Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) named K T Naveen Kumar (37) as an accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case after confirming that he had conducted a recce near her house before she was killed.
The SIT also charged Kumar with plotting to assassinate Mysuru-based writer K S Bhagawan.
Armed with the information, the SIT produced Kumar before the 3rd Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on Friday. The SIT officials submitted documents in a closed envelope to the court on conspiracy charges against Kumar with an arms case and sought to extend his custody as they have to take him to several places as part of the investigation.
The advocate representing Kumar opposed further custody and submitted that Kumar had already spent 20 days in police custody. The police are now trying to force a statement out of him and are trying to fix him in the case, he contended.
The magistrate considered the SIT’s request and extended his police custody by five days till March 13. Kumar has been in SIT custody since March 2.
The SIT on Friday named two accused in the Gauri Lankesh case and submitted details of the second accused who is yet to arrested.
Meanwhile, the public prosecutor sought permission to subject Kumar to a narco analysis test as he is not forthcoming with information. The officials also alleged that Kumar is misleading the investigation with baseless answers to the investigation officers. Hearing the submission, the magistrate reserved the order to March 12.
A senior police officer said that Kumar was heading the Hindu Yuva Sena’s Maddur unit and had booked a marriage hall in Mandya to hold a huge gathering with Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which is a sister concern of Goa-based Sanathan Sanstha.
The Upparpet police arrested four people on charges of dealing with illegal arms and during their interrogation, they revealed vital information about Kumar’s involvement in illegal arms trade. Later, Kumar was arrested by the Central Crime Branch on February 18 in Upparpet based on a tip-off. He had come to meet one his contacts near Kempegowda Bus Station to hand over a few rounds of ammunition, the police said. The CCB seized 15 cartridges of 0.32 calibre from him.
The SIT has decided to transfer the case of Kumar’s plot to eliminate K S Bhagawan to the Mysuru police. A senior police officer said Kumar had conspired with his associate to kill Bhagwan. They also even held target practice.
He also did a recce near Bhagawan’s house.
SIT seeks court nod for narco test on accused
Gauri murder case: First person formally accused
| Bangalore Mirror Bureau
Team tells court, main accused is still on the run and that Naveen is withholding information
The SIT probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has sought the permission of the III Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to conduct brain mapping and narco analysis on KT Naveen Kumar, founder of Hindu Yuva Sena’s Mandya unit, who is presently in their custody for his alleged role in the fatal shooting.
Coincidentally Kumar managed to secure bail in another case registered against him after he was arrested with live bullets near Majestic on February 18. Despite invoking attempt to murder charges against him citing that Kumar was part of a conspiracy to assassinate another Mysuru-based rationalist, he managed to secure bail. The SIT, sensing trouble, went ahead and submitted arrest memos and formally arrested Kumar as an accused in Gauri case. He has been booked under Sections 120 B and 118 of the Indian Penal Code for wilfully concealing intention to commit a murder and also for his involvement in the criminal conspiracy.
“As of now, Naveen Kumar is the only one formally accused in the case. As far as the bail is concerned, we will file a revision petition to get it cancelled,” said MN Anucheth, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West).
Naveen Kumar was brought to the court before the lunch session and the prosecution sought permission for five more days of police custody apart from a petition seeking permission for conducting narco analysis on Kumar. The SIT has informed the court that the ‘main suspect’ was still on the run and Kumar was withholding vital information about the shooters that was preventing the SIT from apprehending them.
“He (Naveen) definitely knows a lot but is not co-operating and divulging anything. That is why we wanted to get his narco test done,” said SIT sources.
After hearing defence and prosecution arguments, the court decided to extend Naveen Kumar’s custody for five more days. The decision on the plea to carry out narco analysis would be delivered on March 12. SIT sources have claimed that Naveen Kumar had agreed to subject himself for narco analysis before he was brought to the open court where he turned hostile and refused to undergo the procedure.
“We have video proof where Naveen Kumar on his own is giving his consent for narco analysis, but now he has refused it,” said sources.
AVM Vedhmurthy, legal counsel for Naveen Kumar, said the police did not have any substantial charges against his client. He added that Kumar was also in police custody after it was shown that he was picked up from Majestic with five bullets on February 18. Another lawyer Amruthesh, who joined Kumar’s legal team, slammed his arrest as politically motivated and without any evidence.
Hindu activist is accused No. 1 in Gauri murder
SIT Will Quiz Naveen For 5 More DaysTIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bengaluru: A rightwing Hindu activist and gunrunner who was being interrogated on suspicion that he had harboured and helped the killers of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh was on Friday named accused No. 1in the case.
Sources in the special investigation team (SIT) probing the murder said KT Naveen Kumar alias Hotte Manja, 38, had confessed to assisting “Praveen and others” in carrying out the killing. “He is not forthcoming on the details of who these men were,” a source said. Naveen, who lives in Maddur in Mandya district, is president of a splinter outfit, the Hindu Yuva Sene.
Earlier in the day, Naveen was produced before the III Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Bengaluru which extended his police custody by five days. After hearing the SIT’s application to subject Naveen to narcoanalysis, Judge Prakash V reserved his orders for March 15.
Team wants Naveen to undergo narco test
The special probe team wants to subject Naveen to narcoanalysis at the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Ahmedabad.
In its remand application, the SIT named Naveen as accused No. 1 and sought his custody, saying that he assisted Gauri’s killers in carrying out the job but was not forthcoming on the details. Naveen was picked up from the KSRTC bus stand in Majestic area of Bengaluru on Feburary 17. Police recovered 15 live bullets from him at the time.
On March 2, SIT had produced Naveen before the same court and sought his custody, saying he may have information in the Gauri case. Senior public prosecutor Nirmal Rani said police needed more time to question him as he is concealing evidence. His counsel Veda Murthy said there was nothing left for SIT to ask. He requested that he be allowed to meet Naveen during interrogation. The judge directed SIT to let Naveen meet his advocate whenever he wanted to. The accused replied in the negative to a query on whether he was tortured in custody.
The prosecutor handed over a sealed letter to the judge. SIT sources said it contained Naveen’s confession and other related materials. “The evidence collected confirms Naveen is an accused in the case and we have arrested him,” deputy chief of the SIT, MN Anuchet, said.
SIT recreates recce scene, suspect made to ride bike near Gauri’s home
Video Of Bike-Borne Naveen Will Be Sent To FSL For AnalysisTIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bengaluru: A suspect in the Gauri Lankesh murder case was on Monday made to ride a bike donning a full-face helmet near the slain journalist’s house to verify whether he was the same person in the CCTV images of recce conducted by the killers.
Naveen Kumar, 38, resident of Maddur and leader of Hindu Yuva Sena, is under the custody of the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
It is suspected that Naveen provided logistics to the killer by conducting a recce on September 3 and 5 last year. Gauri was gunned down in front of her house in RR Nagar, southwest Bengaluru, on September 5.
CCTV images obtained from the house premises show a man riding a red-black Bajaj Pulsar bike and wearing a full-face helmet while conducting the recce. The man in the video is wearing a white full-arm shirt, black pants and dark sandals. “Naveen was made to wear a similar shirt and fullface helmet. He was asked to ride near Gauri’s residence and other places where the suspect in the video had rode,” sources said.
Earlier, SIT had got Naveen to ride the bike in its custody. Those videos and images have been sent to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory for analysis. “We’ve now taken pictures and videos of Naveen riding the two-wheeler near Gauri’s house and will send them to FSL seeking its opinion,” sources added.
According to officials, FSL will take at least one month to ascertain the similarities between Naveen and the man in the picture. “Our team that visited Mangaluru to hunt down the people with whom Naveen was in touch hasn’t met with success till now. The phone numbers which Naveen Kumar called are switched off. The names and addresses of the men who had purchased the sim cards are fake,” sources said.
Naveen was arrested by CCB police on February 18, and 15 live bullets were recovered from him. Naveen was taken into SIT custody on March 2 for his suspected role in the murder.