BENGALURU: A month and ten days after journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder has nothing concrete leading to her killers, except sketches of two male suspects that was released on Saturday.
SIT chief BK Singh, in his first official meeting with the media, said that the team has one eye-witness who saw the suspect, but did not elaborate further, saying it would affect the integrity of the investigation. Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had said more than once that the SIT has some clues, but Singh, who took multiple questions on Saturday indicated that there may be nothing.
"We have three sketches of two male suspects based on information from our technical team and information from locals. We know that they had stayed in Bengaluru for at least a week before committing the murder and even did a recce (reconnaissance) of her house."
Stating that his team has no knowledge about who the suspects may be, Singh requested the public to provide information. "If anybody thinks that they may have seen people who look similar to the faces in the sketches must inform us," Singh said.
The SIT, also released a clipping of the suspect riding a bike in a white formal shirt (TOI reported first that the suspect was seen in a white shirt and black trousers on September 13). Both the suspects are expected to be aged between 25 and 35 years, and the SIT believes that they are no more in Bengaluru.
However, investigators, Singh said, have found nothing concrete to determine the background of the suspects or any other details that may lead them to them.
"We have identified the make of the bike used, and are in the process of verifying it. There are too many bikes of that make and we cannot at this moment reveal which bike it was," Singh said. He added that his team has examined 75TB of footage from more than 600 CCTV cameras and that they also have one eye-witness.
On how the team managed to get a sketch when the suspects were wearing helmets, Singh said that they found some footage where the visor was up and that helped identifying the eyes and the nose, following which the eye-witness was also consulted. DCP (West) MN Anucheth, who is the lead investigating officer of the SIT, said: "We have used multiple artificial intelligence softwares during the investigation too, but I cannot reveal their names of other details now."
Singh also said that unlike the sketches released in the MM Kalburgi murder case, these sketches are of high quality, painted by good artists. "Each sketch took us more than 48 hours, these are not computer generated," he said.
To a follow-up question on the weapons having matched with those used in the other cases, he said: "No, there is no FSL report that says that the weapon used has matched with the one used in the Kalburgi case or any other case. While the cartridges from the Kalburgi case has now arrived, we haven't yet requested for the cartridges from the (Govind) Pansare and (Narendra) Dabholkar cases."