Cops in Karnataka arrest founder of NaMo Brigade for murdering RTI activist

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Police in Karnataka have arrested the founder of NaMo brigade, a youth organisation that was floated to drum up support for Narendra Modi’s bid for prime minister’s job just before 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The 39-year-old, Naresh Shenoy, an RSS worker, was the prime accused in the 21 March murder of RTI activist Vinayak Baliga in Mangaluru. He was arrested on Sunday afternoon following a three-month hunt by the state police.

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The investigations had revealed his and three other associates’ involvements in the murder of the 51-year-old RTI activist Vinayak Pandurang Baliga, barely 75 metres from his home.

This came after Mangaluru Police vowed to hunt the killers of  Vinayak Baliga, who was hacked to death by unknown people on 21 March when he was on his way to the temple.

Baliga, also a BJP worker, was involved in a battle with authorities at the local Venkataramana Temple, where he prayed every morning, over alleged misappropriation of temple funds to the tune of Rs 9 crore, which he discovered by investigating and filing RTI applications.

He had filed as many as 92 RTI applications over various issues, including land encroachment and illegal buildings in Mangalore. But police believe he was primarily targeted over the row surrounding Venkataramana Temple, which belongs to the Saraswat Goud Brahmin community. Police sources said Shenoy was also associated with the temple and was considered an ally of some authorities Baliga antagonised.

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