Man arrested under Arms Act quizzed in Gauri Lankesh case

TNN, 25-02-2018 09:38:57

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Man arrested under Arms Act quizzed in Gauri Lankesh case

BENGALURU: The Special Investigation Team probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh is questioning Maddur-based man arrested under the Arms Act, 1959, but interrogators have not been able to arrive at anything conclusive so far.

The Organised Crime Wing (OCW) of the Central Crime Branch (CCB), on February 18 arrested Naveen Kumar based on information that he had arrived in Bengaluru with intent to illegally sell firearms.

The police found a 0.32 calibre pistol with five live bullets on Naveen at the time of his arrest at the KSRTC terminal in Majestic. They said that a search of his house later found 10 more live bullets, all of which were in his possession illegally.

A pro-Hindu activist, Naveen started out as a member of the Bajrang Dal, which he later quit to start his own outfit called the Hindu Yuva Sena. According to the police, there were more than one rioting cases against Naveen, while one case under the Arms Act was pending at the Upparpet police station.

Given the pending case, and that the arrest was made under Upparpet police station limits, the FIR—a copy of which is with TOI—has been registered with the same station. “At about 5.30pm a CCB official received the information that Naveen was at the KSRTC terminal with an illegal firearm that he was trying to sell. The official investigated the matter and arrested Naveen at about 6pm,” the FIR reads.

Based on statements made by Naveen, the police has detained three other persons, whose identities were not immediately made public. “They are still being questioned in connection to the firearms,” one official said.

While Naveen continues to remain in the custody of the City police, the SIT has been questioning him, at least two sources, including one in the special team, confirmed to TOI.

“We have questioned every person arrested under the Arms Act since Gauri’s murder and Naveen is also being interrogated in the same manner. At this juncture, I can neither say that we have a connection, nor deny that. We have nothing conclusive so far,” one senior SIT official said.

The fact that news about Naveen’s arrest became public just days after home minister Ramalinga Reddy told reporters in Vidhana Soudha that the investigators have specific clues in the case, has given rise to a lot of speculation.

While some media reports have already claimed that the case has been more-or-less solved with the arrest of the killers, the SIT has maintained otherwise. After having issued a clarification late on Friday, SIT deputy chief, Anucheth MN, on Saturday said: “No arrests. No one is in SIT custody(sic).” Gauri was murdered outside her Rajarajeshwari Nagar residence on September 5, 2017, by assailants who are yet to be identified.

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