Bengaluru, Oct 12: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh made its 16th arrest yesterday.
The accused, Vasudev Suryavamshi, 29, was first arrested by the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad (ATS) from Jalgaon in connection with an arms haul case on September 10, 2018, and later by the CBI for his alleged role in the murder of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar.
Suryavamshi was brought to Bengaluru on a body warrant, produced before a city magistrate on Thursday, and was remanded into SIT’s custody for 15 days.
Vasudev Suryavamshi was known by the code name ‘Mechanic’, said an SIT official. One of the diaries seized from alleged kingpin Amol Kale had an entry with Suryavamshi’s operational phone number. It was switched off after Kale's arrest in May 2018. Suryavamshi allegedly provided stolen bikes for the gang that killed Gauri Lankesh and three others, SIT sources said.
Maharashtra ATS had arrested Sharad Kalaskar in August 2018. He later emerged as one of the shooters of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. The ATS had recovered a bike he had parked with a friend, which Kalaskar reportedly claimed was the one used by Gauri Lankesh's killers the day she was assassinated.
However, the bike was not his. Kalaskar allegedly claimed that a garage mechanic had provided the bike, but said he did not know his name. The dates matched with the entry in Kale's diary leading to the arrest of Vasudev Suryavamshi by the Maharashtra ATS and now by the SIT in the Gauri Lankesh case.
The SIT told the city court on Thursday that Suryavamshi was earlier associated with a Goa-Maharashtra-based extremist right-wing organisation and later quit to become a member of the unnamed gang formed in 2011 allegedly to assassinate ‘anti-Hindus’.
Gauri murder: Man who arranged stolen bike lands in SIT custody; 16th arrest in case