No motive to kill colleague, Ravi Belagere tells sleuths

No motive to kill colleague, Ravi Belagere tells sleuths

Tabloid editor Ravi Belagere, arrested on Friday, denied he had hired a killer to eliminate his colleague Sunil Heggaravalli.

"I groomed him. He was a member of my family for 15 years. Why would I want him dead?" is what he told the police on Saturday.

The police took Belagere into custody on December 8, soon after the arrest of Shashidhar Mundewadi, whom they describe as a contract killer.

Sources privy to the investigation told DH a team, headed by DCP Jinendra Kanagavi, asked Belagere specific questions: "Why did you conspire to kill Sunil Heggaravalli? How do you know Shashidhar Mundewadi? How much did you promise to pay him?"

Belagere flatly denied all the charges.

"If Heggaravalli had cheated me, I would have slapped him and counselled him. I had the liberty. He is no big rival that I had to kill him," a source quoted Belagere as saying.

Belagere is housed at the office of ACP Subramanya. He has been provided a bed and a chair. A doctor is on standby to check his condition every two hours, a source said.

Meanwhile, the Central Crime Branch on Saturday continued searches on premises owned by Belagere.

A team visited his farm house in Joida in Uttara Kannada district, while another searched a building in Rajarajeshwari Nagar and seized some documents, according to Kanagavi.

A house named Hima Belegere in Pattanagere in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, where Belagere's second wife Yashomathi lives, was also searched.

The police said the house was searched in her presence and a statement was obtained from her.

Gauri Lankesh murder

The police are also questioning Mundewadi in connection with the sensational shooting of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Call records of his phone show he was in touch with gun runners in Goa and Maharashtra, police said.

Mundewadi was arrested by the Maharashtra Police on September 14 in connection with an arms case.

The police hope to get leads from him on sharpshooters and weapon dealers to crack the Gauri case, sources said.

Meanwhile, police in Vijayapura are looking for Mundewadi's accomplice Viji Badiger, who had visited Belagere on October 28.

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