SIT gets custody of Shiv Sena man

SIT gets custody of Shiv Sena man

Gauri Lankesh

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh have taken the custody of Shrikant Pangarkar (40), a former corporator of Jalna in Maharashtra (Shiv Sena), from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).

The SIT filed an application before the special court in Mumbai seeking Pangarkar’s custody after his role was confirmed through the interrogation of Sudhanva Gondhalekar, an associate of Pangarker. It was submitted to the court that Pangarkar had played a major role in arranging logistics, money and ammunition to Gauri’s killers.

The ATS, in August this year, had arrested Vaibhav Raut, Gondhalekar, Sharad Kalaskar and Pangarkar in connection with the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. The ATS arrested Pangarkar on August 19 and seized several pen drives and hard discs from his residence in Jalna. They are also looking into his bank details to know the funding for the killers.

Investigation showed that Amole Kale, the mastermind in the Gauri murder case, had close links with Pangarkar. SIT found his name written as Praji in the diary recovered from Kale. The accused in the Gauri case also mentioned his name several times during interrogation. After media reported, quoting a ballistic report, that same weapon was used to kill Gauri and rationalist M M Kalburgi, Kale approached Pangarkar to arrange for a new weapon to kill Kannada writer K S Bhagwan.

An SIT officer said there was a need to take Pangarkar to Madikeri, Mangaluru, Belagavi and other parts in the state as part of the probe. Kale is said to have dialled Pangarkar nearly 1,200 times before and after Gauri’s death.

It was suspected that Pangarkar had purchased a weapon from a dealer and handed it over to Gondhalekar, who then gave it to a civil contractor from Kunigal,
H L Suresh.

The wewapon was with Suresh before and after the assailants killed Gauri. Later, Gondhalekar returned to Bengaluru and took the weapon from him.

Gauri was killed on September 5, 2017 and the SIT has arrested 13 persons till now. The SIT found that some of the accused arrested in the case had links with the killings of Kalburgi and Dabholkar.

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