Suspect taken into custody over murder of Indian journalist

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka probing the murder of an Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh has taken a 37-year-old suspect into custody for questioning on Friday (March 3). KT Naveen Kumar, a native of Maddur in Mandya, was detained at Bangalore’s main bus terminus on February 18 by Central Crime Branch (CCB) police for possessing a .32 calibre country-made pistol. On questioning, he told CCB police about his links with right-wing groups. SIT took the suspect into custody for nine days. A senior police officer told local media that Kumar may be a small link to the big case and refused to call his arrest and custodial interrogation a breakthrough. Lankesh, 55, the editor of a local newspaper Lankesh Patrike was fatally shot outside her residence in Bangalore on September 5 last year by unknown assailants. The murder caused outrage and many said it bore similarity to the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi. However, the case dragged and no tangible evidence was forthcoming. Congress-ruled Karnataka is going to assembly polls in April-May and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is under pressure to catch the killers of Lankesh. Despite anti-incumbency factor, Siddaramaiah is confident of retaining Karnataka in the upcoming elections.