‘Don’t want case to be handed over to CBI’

Gauri Lankesh’s sister Kavitha is happy with the pace of investigation by the SIT and wants it to pursue the case

Kavitha Lankesh

Film director Kavitha Lankesh, the sister of slain activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh, is not happy with the suggestion by the Supreme Court that a single body should investigate the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi, and Gauri Lankesh, if they have a common thread.

SC has suggested that CBI should take care of all these cases and Kavitha is all set to implead herself before the court. 

She says that she is extremely happy with the investigation by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and doesn’t see a point in the investigation being handed over to another agency.

“The team has proceeded very meticulously and in an unbiased manner. It is impressive to see the team crack such a big case — many people have been arrested and two charge sheets have been filed,” she says. 

She appreciates the dedication of B K Singh, head of the SIT, and his team. “I have been updated about the investigation from the initial stages. There were way too many challenges that they faced. In the first three months, they had not had a breakthrough and there was a lot of pressure. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Finally the team narrowed down on some people,” she says. 

She further asks, “When the CBI was itself taking help from the SIT in the Dabholkar murder case, why should this case be handed back to them? Amol Kale was arrested and taken to Mumbai for questioning but even after 90 days, nothing was done and he was granted bail. In Gauri’s case, when the investigation by the SIT has moved so far, why should it be passed on to another team?”

She is adamant about not allowing the case to be moved to the CBI.

“If the CBI wants to question the suspects, they can. I also have the support of Megha Pansare; she also might implead in the court. I will be filing my plea by the first week of January,” she says.  

“I strongly believe that if a single body had to investigate the cases then it should be handed over to SIT Karnataka, which is well-versed with the details and clues of the case,” says Kavitha. 

She, like her late sister, is against capital punishment and is not pushing for the death penalty for the convicts. 

“I will respect what the court decides. However, I do not believe in capital punishment. Just like the killer did not have the right to take my sister’s life, I do not believe that anyone has the right to take the killer’s life,” she says.  

What’s happened till now?
lOn September 5, 2017, journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead a little after 8:20 pm, as she was entering her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. Three assailants, who had followed her from her office in Gandhi Bazar, called out to her. When she turned around to look, they pumped bullets into her from point-blank range.

lA Special Investigation Team was formed with Inspector General Of Police B K Singh heading it and DCP (West) M N Anucheth being named the chief investigation officer.
lWithin one year of the incident, September 2018, the SIT arrested around 12 suspects who are connected to a right-wing group. 

l On November 22, SIT had filed 9,235-page additional charge sheet naming Sanatan Sanstha in Gauri’s murder.

lThe arrests have gone up to 16 till date, while two others are at large.

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