Ex Shiv Sena man's name crops up in Gauri Lankesh murder accused's diary
Karnataka cops send ATS report regarding the discovery of ex-Jalna corporator's name; ATS won't disclose case, or name the accused, but all indicators point to probe in journalist-activist's murder
Former Jalna Shiv Sena corporator Shrikant Pangarkar's name has now cropped up in the diary of one of the arrested accused in a murder case being probed by the Karnataka police; a report regarding the same has been sent to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on September 1. While ATS is not disclosing which accused in what case, all indicators point to the murder case of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.
According to ATS, Pangarkar was present in Karnataka for a while from August 14, 2017, before Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017. In that time, he was in touch with the others accused of murdering her.
Two phone numbers
In their probe, ATS found out that Pangarkar had two phone numbers: a regular one, which was registered in his name, and a second one, which was also operational, that was not on his name. The agency also discovered that he got some messages on the regular number, and he called people sending those messages back from the second number. The second number has also been mentioned in the diary found from right-wing activist Vaibhav Raut, arrested in the Nalasopara-Pune arms haul, thus connecting Pangarkar to those accused as well.
ATS also found out that Pangarkar followed a probable target around in Amravati. They'd done a panchnama with him regarding this on August 30.
As part of their probe, ATS has taken Pangarkar's voice and writing samples and his bank statements from three banks - Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Overseas Bank and Sunderlal Sawji Urban co-operative bank.
Calling Pangarkar the main financier of the other accused, the ATS prosecutor said in court on Monday, "He arranged for training of the other accused in the farmhouse at Jalna, and directed funds to them that were used to manufacture explosives." Meanwhile, ATS has seized a bike with a fake number plate, which they suspect could have been used in other crimes. Its involvement in other cases is also being probed.
Defending Pangarkar, his advocate Sanjeev Punalekar said no incriminating material was seized from Pangarkar, while ATS managed to seize CPU, pen drives and bank statements. He said ATS did not have a statement of a single person who underwent training allegedly arranged by Pangarkar. He added that there was no need for a voice and handwriting sample.
While Pangarkar was sent to police custody till September 6, Raut and the other arrested accused in the Nalasopara-Pune arms haul, namely Sharad Kalaskar, and Sudhanva Gondhalkar were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
- The report from the Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) on the explosives seized from Nalasopara and Pune has come out positive, with the crude bombs found to contain explosive material, according to ATS officials.
- CBI was finally granted custody of Sharad Kalaskar, the alleged shooter in the murder of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, on Monday. He is likely to be produced in a Pune court on Tuesday.
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