Gauri Lankesh murder: Sanatan Sanstha in trouble again, 5 members suspected in killing

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Five Linked to Sanatan Sanstha Among Key Suspects, Three Had Role in Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar & MM Kalburgi Killings

The names of Praveen Limkar from Kolhapur, Jayaprakash alias Anna from Mangalore, Sarang Akolkar from Pune, Rudra Patil from Sangli and Vinay Pawar from Satara are being investigated by a Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka police as part of its probe into the murder of Gauri Lankesh. Rudra Patil, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar allegedly had a role in killings of Pansare, Dhabolkar and Kalburgi.

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The names Praveen Limkar, Sarang Akolkar, Anna and Rudra Patil are on the list of most-wanted suspects of the National Investigation Agency and a red-corner notice has been issued against their names by the Interpol. They are suspected to have played a major role in 2009 Madgaon blast in which two Sanatan Sanstha men were killed while transporting an IED that was to be planted at a Diwali program in Madgaon.

Sanatan Sanstha on Thursday decried attempts to link it to the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, and accused “leftists” of trying to bring disrepute to the organisation.

Addressing mediapersons at a press conference held in Bengaluru, Sanstha leader Chetan Rajhans claimed that blaming his group was the natural reaction of liberal activists to such incidents. “Some media groups claimed that the special investigation team (SIT) visited our ashram in Goa. This is completely untrue. If they want to question us, we are willing to participate,” he said, requesting Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah to conduct a fair and “non-political” probe into the case.

“The organisation is being blamed (on the Sanatan Sanstha) because of alleged similarities in the murders of (Narendra) Dabholkar, (Govind) Pansare, (MM) Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. They say a similar gun was used. But then, the 7.65 mm pistol is a commonly available gun,” said Sanjiv Punalekar, advocate and Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad national secretary.

A forensic analysis of four empty cartridges and the four bullets fired to kill Lankesh had concluded that markings on the bullets and cartridges bear a close resemblance to those found on bullets and cartridges fired to kill Kalburgi. This confirmed preliminary findings suggesting that Lankesh and scholar Kalburgi were probably shot with the same 7.65-mm pistol. The ballistic finding suggests that one common group is behind the two killings, say sources.

Findings from a comparison of the ballistic evidence from the Lankesh and Kalburgi cases adds to existing forensic evidence from the shooting of Pansare where the same 7.65-mm countrymade gun used in the Kalburgi murder was found to have been used.

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Sources in the Karnataka SIT probing the Lankesh case said “good progress” has been achieved in the probe. Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy also said this week that the SIT has conclusive evidence regarding the alleged perpetrators of Lankesh’s murder.

Sources Indian Express

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