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Gauri Lankesh murder: Killers were in Bengaluru for at least a week, recceed neighbourhood

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Journalist Gauri Lankesh's killers stayed in Bengaluru for at least a week before they murdered her in cold blood. The assailants, investigating officials said, recceed her house and neighbourhood for at least a month before shooting her dead on September 5, 2017.

Screenshot of CCTV footage released by the SIT purportedly showing one of the suspects

IGP B K Singh, the chief of the Special Investigation Team probing the murder, in a press conference on Saturday, said that the assailants were in the city for at least a week. Officials part of the SIT, however, told OneIndia that the suspects- who may have recced Gauri's neighbourhood for a month- strategically chalked out a 'minimum digital presence path' to Gauri's residence.

"In this case, the accused has taken precautions to hide himself, very consciously, something as simple as wearing a helmet while surveying the house. They (suspects) have probably surveyed for a month to identify all the CCTV locations and use a path where there were no CCTVs," said an officer who is part of the SIT, requesting anonymity.

No evidence to prove "same gun theory"

Putting to rest speculations of Prof M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh being murdered by the same weapon, the SIT said there was no evidence to suggest so. "Assailants used a 7.62 mm countrymade pistol to shot at Gauri. There has, however, been no evidence to prove that it was the same gun used in the murder of Prof M M Kalburgi. There are similarities in both killings but there is an equal number of dissimilarities," B K Singh said.

[Gauri Lankesh murder: Cops rule out professional angle, release sketches of suspects]

SIT yet to approach other agencies

Contrary to what many reports have suggested, the SIT probing Gauri Lankesh' murder claimed that it is yet to reach out to other agencies probing similar murders. The SIT is yet to approach agencies like the CBI and Maharashtra SIT probing the Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare murder cases. The question of cross-verifying cartridge samples, ballistic reports do not arise since the SIT is yet to seek information.

The SIT released two CCTV footages from the date of crime i.e., September 5, 2017. The footages- 4-second and 9-second each, acquired from two different CCTV cameras show a man on a bike riding around Gauri Lankesh's residence. The SIT has claimed that the man on the bike is one of the assailants aged between 25 and 35 years.

"We are confident that these are the killers. Till about a couple of days ago, we were not sure but today, because of corroboration of both, technical analysis and eyewitness analysis, we have been able to zero in on the accused. We are confident that the man in the video is a suspect," said the officer.

The SIT held a press conference for the first time ever since its formation following Gauri Lankesh's brutal murder. While it has ruled out professional rivalry as a motive, all other angles are being probed. The SIT officials are confident that the killers have left the city but are encouraging the public to share any information that could help the investigation.

OneIndia News

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