Shell casings found at the crime scene said to match illegal weapons that have been tracked by special investigation team.
Bengaluru: The special investigative team (SIT) probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case has made a breakthrough on the possible weapon used to kill the journalist-activist, sources close to the investigation told ThePrint.
With this, the probe team is hopeful that it will be able to crack the case “in a matter of weeks”, the sources said.
Lankesh was murdered by unidentified assailants outside her residence in Bengaluru on 5 September last year.
According to the sources, the shell casings found at the scene of crime matched a few of the weapons that have been tracked by the team from various illegal arms dealers.
The forensic science labs, which have been entrusted with the analysis of the casings with the guns, have been able to zero it down to 45 from a few hundreds of weapons they examined.
“Forty-five illegal weapons of the same make (7.65 mm countrymade pistol) are in the possession of the team and have been sent to the forensic science laboratory to be compared with the shells found at the scene of the crime,” an officer said speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have a definitive lead on this,” the officer added.
The second clue which the SIT believes could lead them directly to the killer came from a caller who has been able to share details of the physical profile of the killer.
This was days after the sketches of the suspects were released by the SIT.
“Soon after the sketches of the suspect were released in the public domain, we received several calls but there was this one particular caller who was able to give graphic details of the killers,” said another officer.
“That has pointed towards a few suspects and we are in the process of tracking them,” the officer added.
The SIT had hit several dead ends when it was trying to get to the alleged killer by tracking the make of the two-wheeler used by the assailants. The vehicle used was captured in a 19-second video released by the police.
The police have, as of now, ruled out political vendetta and family feud angles.
Meanwhile, Gauri Lankesh’s family seems to be quite satisfied with the progress made in the investigation. “We are being briefed on a regular basis on the progress in the case. I think it is very positive,” Gauri’s sister, Kavitha Lankesh, told ThePrint.
Friends, family, student leaders and supporters under the banner ‘Naanu Gauri’ (I am Gauri) are celebrating Monday, 29 January (her birthday) as ‘Gauri Day’.
A trust has been formed, which is organising a daylong event which will see participation of speakers such as newly elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, student leaders from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, both of whom Gauri used to call her ‘children’, among others. Magsaysay award winner T.M. Krishna and several other artistes will perform at the event.