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SIT Arrests Key Suspect in Gauri Lankesh Murder Case

Rushikesh Devdikar alias Murali, was arrested on Thursday from his hideout at Katras in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand.

Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team probing the murder of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh has arrested one person in connection with the case.

Rushikesh Devdikar alias Murali, 44, who was absconding, was arrested on Thursday from his hideout at Katras in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand, the SIT said in a statement.

The probe team said that Devdikar was part of the conspiracy to kill Lankesh. He is accused number 18 in the case.

According to the Indian Express, Devdikar is linked to radical right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. He is alleged to have been one of the key plotters who provided resources to carry out the murder, including training and guns for the assassins.

“His house is being searched for clues. He will be produced before the jurisdictional Judicial Magistrate tomorrow (Friday),” the SIT said.

Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017 outside her house by a member of a gang that apparently planned to kill her after being inspired by a book published by radical right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha, that had identified Lankesh as a durjan (evil person).

Also Read: Why We Should Remember Gauri Lankesh

The chargesheet in the case called the journalist’s assassination an “organised crime” by people associated with the Sanatan Sanstha.

Investigators said the gang had also prepared a list of people whom they wanted to kill. The list included noted playwright Girish Karnad and rationalist K.S. Bhagawan.

The SIT had found that Lankesh was killed after a conspiracy was hatched by members of a right-wing group, which is also accused of killing rationalist M.M. Kalburgi. The killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar are also believed to be linked to the same group of extremists. Though no link has been established to the killing of communist leader Govind Pansare, reports have suggested the same group could be responsible.

(With PTI inputs)