Congress MLC’s personal assistant arrested in connection with Gauri Lankesh’s murder : Reports

The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in September last year had caused a furore in the country. The state government then led by Congress had formed a Special Investigation team to investigate the murder.

In a series of events, now SIT has arrested the personal assistant of a Congress MLC from Kodagu district in relation with the murder of Gauri Lankesh. The Special Investigative Team has arrested Rajesh D Bangera, the tenth accused in connection with Gauri Lankesh murder. Bangera, a resident of Palooru in Kodagu, was working as a personal assistant to Kodagu MLC Veena Achaiah. He had also worked as an official in the Education Department and later worked as a personal assistant to Zilla Panchayat official Sherin Subbaiah.

The MLC’s office in reaction to the arrests said, “On July 23, the MLC’s office was not opened even after 12 noon. The people informed the MLC about it. Later, I opened the door. We did not have any information about Bangera. I learnt about his arrest only after watching TV on Tuesday night.”

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It is reported that Bangera has confessed before the Special Investigative Team (SIT), that he had trained Parashuram Waghmare to use firearms and also supplied bullets to the alleged killers. The SIT had arrested him on July 23 and has requested to be remanded him for a 13-day judicial custody.

Bangera reportedly was earlier a member of Sanatan Sanstha and had left the organisation after getting a government job. It is reported that Bangera has confessed before the SIT regarding his involvement in supplying the arms to the accused. The SIT has submitted the confessions to the court in a sealed cover.

The Special Investigation team said that Bangera had two gun licenses and was also well trained in shooting. According to SIT, Bangera had close ties with the accused Amol Kale and others. “He has confessed to having procured and supplied 20 live bullets to the team that is behind Gauri’s murder”, the SIT said. Prior to that, he had admitted of training Parashuram Waghmare, Ganesh Miskin and others associated with the outfit in firing. The training sessions were held at several places in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The police had made the first arrest in March this year when they had arrested KT Naveen Kumar, founder of Hindu Yuva Sene. The SIT had also suspected Amol Kale and Nihal alias Dada could be the masterminds behind the murder of the journalist. Another accused Manohar Yadave, who is in police custody, confessed that he had regularly updated the movements of Gauri Lankesh to both Kale and Dada. Along with them, the police have also arrested Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, Mohan Nayak, Amit Degwekar and Parashuram Waghmare.

The SIT had hit a roadblock recently, when the accused Parashuram Waghmare, the man who allegedly open fired at Gauri Lankesh refused to confess to the crime before the magistrate. Another significant cause of worry for the SIT is that the first accused arrested, KT Naveen Kumar, has claimed innocence and agreed to undergo a narco-analysis test to prove the same.

Indrajit Lankesh, brother of Gauri Lankesh had earlier accused the former Chief Minister of Siddaramaiah of his sister’s death. He had accused the former Congress leader of neglecting her security despite having threats on her life.

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