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Gauri Lankesh Murder: SIT Says Crime Syndicate under Sanatan Sanstha Carried out Murder, Hit-list Included Siddharth Varadarajan

The charge sheet noted that Antara Dev Singh and professor Chaman Lal were also in the crosshairs of the syndicate.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh has said that a “crime syndicate” under the ambit of Sanatan Sanstha was primarily involved in carrying out the murder, on Friday, November 23. The SIT filed a 9,235-page additional charge sheet against all 18 people accused of being involved in the murder, who supposedly belonged to this syndicate. The charge sheet was filed before a special Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) court.

S Balan, the senior public prosecutor in the case told Deccan Herald that the accused had carried out a detailed plan, going back five years, to carry out Lankesh’s murder.

Reportedly, the accused had also carried out reconnaissance of different places and also carried out meetings in various locales before murdering the veteran journalist. Balan also said Amol Kale, who was named as the “first accused” in the additional charge sheet was the “mastermind” behind the murder. Reportedly, Kale had not only assigned roles to the other accused but had also overseen the murder operation.

MN Anucheth, the deputy commissioner and the Chief Investigation Officer (CIO) of the SIT said that the SIT had sought permission to probe the case further, with the case trial set to open in January 2019.

Other Notable People also in Target

The additional charge sheet also noted that the accused had plans to murder other notable people as well. These included among others Siddharth Varadarajan, The Wire editor, Antara Dev Singh, a journalist and Chaman Lal, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor. In total, reportedly, around 26 people from across the country were in the crosshairs of the syndicate, with at least eight others being targeted in Karnataka.

Caravan magazine editor Vinod K Jose noted that the accused had prepared a list to demarcate their targets. He further speculated that the list was prepared categorising people into three broad groups: one, Hindu but against Hindutva; two, anti-Hindus belonging to other religions; and three, atheists.

Also Read: ‘Gauri Lankesh in the Making’: Twitter User Issues Death Threat to Journalist Swati Chaturvedi

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