Bengaluru: The killers of Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh have been identified but evidence is still being collected to prove their guilt, the government of Karnataka said today.
- Gauri Lankesh shot at Bengaluru home nearly a month ago
- CCTVs show man in helmet shooting her, face is covered
- Government says suspects are identified, evidence being collected
Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy told NDTV "We know who it is" but declined to elaborate, explaining that disclosing more information could jeopardize the case.
Ms Lankesh, 55, was shot dead as she entered her house in the IT hub of Bengaluru on September 5. A man wearing a helmet to conceal his face was recorded on security cameras as he shot her in the chest.
The Special Investigation Team working on cracking the case would neither confirm nor deny the home minister's claim. He had said on the day of Ms Lankesh's funeral that the killers would be caught soon.
Karnataka is run by the Congress, which has been criticised for failing to make any progress in determining who killed Ms Lankesh, a fierce advocate of secularism and a vocal and persistent critic of right-wing ideology.
Different government officials have suggested that her murder appears to share links with that of rationalist MM Kalburgi who was shot dead at his home in the Dharwad region of the state in 2015. Suspects have yet to be identified for that killing.
Sources handling the investigation into Ms Lankesh's killing said that the bullets used to kill Mr Kalburgi were sent "possibly to Scotland Yard" to identify their provenance but have not yet been returned. The details of the bullets are important to see if there is any connection between the two killings.
Ms Lankesh's killing has triggered outrage in part because some Twitter users claiming affiliation to the BJP celebrated the manner in which she was murdered. Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows some of those accounts and despite public anger, has not stopped tracking them. Celebrated southern star Prakash Raj said yesterday that the PM's silence on this issue hurts and concerns him; the actor, who was a close friend of Ms Lankesh, said that the five national awards he has won are better deserved by the PM and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, whom he described as "bigger actors than me."