‘Arrange ammunition to kill Gauri,’ Naveen’s statement indicts Praveen

‘Arrange ammunition to kill Gauri,’ Naveen’s statement indicts Praveen

Gauri Lankesh

KT Naveen Kumar, the first arrested in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, has said the second accused Praveen had approached him to help kill her.

Naveen said in his statement, a copy of which is available with DH, that he attended a religious seminar in Ponda in Goa, where he spoke about protecting Hinduism with arms. Everyone appreciated his views, the accused said.

He also told one of the organisers that he had guns and bullets to fight for the cause and the organiser responded saying there were people with similar mindset who would call him soon.

Two days later, 37-year-old Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen alias Manjunath alias Sujeet S R, also arrested for Gauri murder case and conspiracy to kill Kannada writer KS Bhagawan, called him from a coin booth and the duo met in Maddur near Mandya.

The same month, Praveen approached Naveen asking for guns and ammos to protect the Hindu religion. Naveen said he had only 18 bullets. Praveen tested a couple of them and asked Naveen to arrange gun and bullets.

Police said both Praveen and Naveen met at Adichunchanagiri Mutt in Vijayanagar in Bengaluru on August 19 and 20 at a spiritual event and went to the BBMP park in the evening.

Praveen informed his companion that the bullets he took from him were not working. He said his boys were ready to kill Gauri Lankesh for her anti-Hindu stand and asked him to arrange the ammo.

“I know it’s illegal, but since even I was against (Gauri’s) anti-Hindu stand and decided to help them,” Naveen said in his statement.

“I went to Kollegala and Ooty but could not get bullets. Since Praveen was not using a mobile phone, I could not communicate this to him. I went to Mangaluru following an invite on September 5, the day Gauri was murdered. I saw the (news of Gauri’s murder) on television,” he added.

In October, when the duo met again in Maddur, Naveen asked him about Gauri Lankesh, to which Praveen replied saying that the task was complete “as we had planned.”  He also asked Naveen to keep silent.

On November 7, 2017, Naveen was invited to Belagavi, where he was introduced to Amol Kale alias Bhaisab alias Sanjay Bhansare, 37, from Pune; Amit Degwekar alias Amit alias Pradeep Mahajan, 38, from Ponda in Goa; and, Manohar Edave alias Manoj, 28, from Vijayapura in Karnataka (all arrested in the Gauri murder case and conspiracy to kill Kannada writer K S Bhagwan).

When Praveen asked the cost of a gun and 50 bullets, Naveen said it could cost between Rs 1,75,000 to Rs 2 lakh and the bullets Rs 40,000. He also said they had decided to eliminate Bhagwan and asked Naveen to watch his house and his movements.

Later, all four of them were in Maddur on January 13, where they asked him about Bhagwan, the gun and bullets.

“I asked them to give me some time,” Naveen said in the confession statement.