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10th man arrested for Gauri Lankesh murder may have hired mastermind Amol Kale

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Rajesh Bangera, remanded in police custody till 6 August, is believed to have been involved in recruiting people to plan and carry out the murder.

Bengaluru: The special investigation team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has made its 10th arrest in the case. Rajesh Bangera, arrested earlier this week, has been remanded in police custody till August 6.

Bangera, the SIT believes, was among those involved in recruiting people to plan and carry out the murder, including suspected mastermind Amol Kale.

What role he played on the day of the crime is not known, but Bangera is believed to have been in constant touch with Amit Baddi and Ganesh Miskin, the two people arrested last week.

Miskin is suspected to be the bike rider who drove Parashuram Waghmore to Lankesh’s Bengaluru house on 5 September, 2017, where she was shot dead. It is believed Miskin then disposed of the two-wheeler and other crucial evidence.

Baddi and Miskin were picked up from Hubballi Sunday and have also been remanded in police custody till 6 August.

The others arrested by the SIT include K.T. Naveen Kumar, Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, Kale, Amit Degwekar, Manohar Edave, Waghmore and Mohan Naik.

The murder of Lankesh, a vocal rationalist known to take a stand against religion- and caste-based fundamentalism, is believed to have been part of a larger conspiracy to eliminate like-minded scholars including M.M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, and Govind Pansare.

The editor of an eponymous weekly tabloid that didn’t run advertisements, she was the daughter of poet-journalist P. Lankesh. In one of her final Twitter posts, she had sought to highlight the issue of fake news.

So far, while the weapon remains to be traced, a forensic examination has established that the bullets that killed Kalburgi, the former vice-chancellor of Kannada University, and Lankesh were fired from the same gun.

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