SIT uncovers plot to kill writer Bhagawan, nabs 4

They are all linked to man held in Gauri murder case

Prof K S Bhagwan

Four associates of the only suspect to be arrested for the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh have been taken into custody for conspiring to kill rationalist and Kannada writer,
K S Bhagawan. 

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) picked up the four near the Davangere bus station around 10.15 am on May 21 but made the formal arrests only now. It identified them as Sujith Kumar alias Praveen (37), from Kappanahalli near Shikaripur, Shivamogga district; Amol Kale alias Bhaisaab, from Maharashtra; Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep (38) and Manohar Dundappa Yadave alias Manoj (29), both from Ratnapura village, Vijayapura district. 

They are close associates of K T Naveen Kumar, who has been arrested for Gauri’s murder. The men are also suspects in that case and will be in police custody for 10 days. The SIT is also hunting for another man named Dada alias Nihal.

How police caught them

SIT sleuths stumbled upon the plot to kill Bhagawan after obtaining Naveen’s call detail record (CDR) while investigating Gauri’s murder. The phone conversations suggested Naveen and Sujith were tasked with the job by right-wing organisations. Sujith went into hiding after police arrested Naveen. But police caught him in Mangaluru, an officer of the SIT said. 

Sujith was brought to the Cottonpet police station in Bengaluru and subjected to intense grilling. Spilling the beans on the plot to kill Bhagawan, he said they had bought a pistol and bullets in Belagavi for the purpose and kept them in his grandmother’s home in Davangere. He, however, claimed innocence in Gauri’s killing. He also revealed his accomplices’ visit to Davanagere on May 21 to attend some event. SIT officials took him to Davangere and arrested the three others when they were travelling in a car. 

The seizure

The SIT has seized copies of two newspapers from Mangaluru, two black bags, four mobile phone batteries, a map of Bengaluru, four mobile phones, a diary of phone numbers and Rs 22,931 in cash. 

Gauri charge sheet today

The SIT is likely to file the charge sheet in the Gauri murder case on Wednesday. The charge sheet will likely mention that K T Naveen Kumar didn’t reveal anything during the interrogation and refused to undergo a narcoanalysis test after initially agreeing to it. In short, the investigation has reached a dead end. 

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SIT uncovers plot to kill writer Bhagawan, nabs 4

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