In a sensational revelation, an additional chargesheet filed by the Special Investigation Team of the Karnataka Police has said that the killers of journalist Gauri Lankesh planned to assassinate 30 more people including several journalists across India.
This, according to the Deccan Chronicle newspaper, included Siddharth Varadarajan of The Wire website, journalist Antara Dev Sen, Chaman Lal, a professor in Hindi translation at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Punjabi playwright Atamjit Singh and 26 people from different states.
While submitting its 9,235 page chargesheet, the SIT had invoked the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) in the case in August.
In a statement issued after filing the charge sheet in the special KCOCA court, the SIT sought the court’s permission to investigate further. The chargesheet, according to the Indian Express, has named 37-year-old Amol Kale, 37, a former Pune convenor of the militant Hindutva outfit Sanatan Sanstha-affiliated Hindu Janajagruti Samiti as the prime accused in the murder plot allegedly executed by Parashuram Waghmare. 26-year-old Waghmare is a member of the Sri Rama Sena. The chargesheet said that Waghmare recruited, trained and funded by Kale with the assistance of a secretive group linked to the Sanstha.
Special public prosecutor S Balan was quoted by the Indian Express, “It is an act of organised crime. The Sanatan Sanstha has been named in the chargesheet as the group that carried out the killing with the help of members of other fringe groups. The murder was planned by a group involved in such killings for five years.”
In October this year, a former police officer investigating the role of the Sanatan Sanstha in the Margao bomb blasts case, had said that journalist Gauri Lankesh would have been alive if the state’s BJP-led government had acted on his advice to ban the organisation.
Lankesh, a prominent voice against Hindutva politics, was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru in September last year. She was shot dead by two assailants, who arrived at her house to fire several rounds of bullets from a point blank range and killed her.