NEW DELHI: Four days after the murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh outside her home in Bengaluru, the Special Investigation Team set up to probe the case is yet to make a breakthrough in the cold-blooded murder that has whipped up a political storm.
As the pressure to solve the case mounts, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy told reporters on Saturday that the 21-member special investigation team, or SIT, set up to probe the murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh has made some "progress".
Mr Reddy said he couldn't share details about the investigation or give a time-frame. "It is the only case for SIT. They should finish this job as early as possible....Only one job is Gauri Lankesh," he said.
Gauri Lankesh was killed at the doorstep of her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, a west Bengaluru neighbourhood on Tuesday night. Footage from CCTV cameras installed by Ms Lankesh showed a man in a dark jacket and helmet shoot her at point-blank range.
But no eye witnesses have come forward so far and there has been concern that the investigation could flounder the way the probe into the 2015 murder of rationalist and scholar MM Kalburgi has. Mr Kalburgi too was shot dead just outside his home in north Karnataka. That was more than two years ago, but the murder is yet to be solved.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has made it clear that he would order a CBI probe if that was what the family wanted. Gauri's siblings, Kavitha and Indrajit, have indicated they are not particular about who probes the murder but only want that those behind their elder sister's killing are found quickly.
Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal echoed a similar sentiment before attacking the Congress government.
"I am not going to demand that inquiry should be done by CBI or any particular agency. I demand that the government makes sincere efforts," he told reporters. "You go for any kind of inquiry, but save your face in the public. At least in this issue, bring the truth," the former chief minister said, stressing that in many ways, this government had already failed.
The sharpest attack on the Congress and its state government, however, had come from the BJP on Friday. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad pinned the blame for Gauri Lankesh's murder on the state government, saying that it was the responsibility of the state to provide Gauri with protection if it was aware that she was playing a key role in bringing naxalites to the mainstream.
Mr Prasad also objected to the assumption that right wing extremists were responsible for Gauri's murder. On his radar was Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi who earlier appeared to be pointing fingers at the BJP and its ideological mentor, the RSS.
Today, Home Minister Reddy hit back saying the minister had been provided incorrect details. "They (BJP) want to politicise the tragedy. We do not want to politicise. She had not asked for protection. Union minister did not know all these things," Mr Reddy said.