Now that the killer of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh is in police custody, details on the murder are slowly coming in. Parshuram Waghmare, who allegedly pulled the trigger on Lankesh on September 5, 2017, has now told the interrogating officials that he was paid Rs 13,000 for the murder.
He told the Special Investigating Team (SIT) that he met a man in Sindhagi in the Bijapur district of Karnataka and was assured that he would receive support if he killed Lankesh. Once Waghmare agreed, he was given Rs 3,000 for food and accommodation and after the journalist was shot dead he was handed the remaining amount of Rs 10,000.
However, the 29-year-old said that money was not a deciding factor for him. "I didn't do it for money. I agreed to do it because her views were anti-Hindu," Waghmare told the SIT, according to the Deccan Chronicle.
After he had gunned down Lankesh, Waghmare left Bengaluru and returned to his hometown and hasn't been in touch with his handlers since.
"He did not discuss the murder with anyone, including his family members. He acted normal and this made his family members believe that he was not involved in the case when the officials picked him up," DC quoted the SIT sources as saying.
The team now intends to further interrogate Waghmare in a bid to find out who the man he met in Sindhagi was.
Meanwhile, Waghmare had earlier revealed that his handlers did not give him too many details of the plot and he did not even know who he was supposed to kill until the day he pumped four bullets into Lankesh on the driveway of her home in RR Nagar, Bengaluru. He then even went on to say that he thinks he shouldn't have killed "the woman."
Before Waghmare, the SIT had arrested Naveen Kumar, said to be the founder of a splinter unit of the Hindu Yuva Sena. It was reported that the man could be the one who took the killer to the spot on his bike.
Killers had a hit list
After Waghmare's arrest and investigation, the SIT has also revealed that a larger gang could be behind the killing of Lankesh and that the killers even had a hit list. The SIT revealed on Wednesday, June 13, that the suspects did not intend to gun down just Lankesh, and in fact had a hit list, which features named of eminent personalities such as film and theatre personality Girish Karnad.
The hit list was found after the probe team recovered a diary from the suspects and most of the entries have reportedly been made in Devanagari script. The team also revealed that a lot of points in the diary have been made in code and once those are cracked more details are likely to come to light.
Apart from Karnad, names such as BT Lalitha Naik, a politician-litterateur and recipient of Jnanpith Award, Pontiff Veerabhadra Channamalla Swamy of Nidumamidi Mutt and rationalist CS Dwarakanath also are a part of the list.
The list evidently features those who are vocal about their anti-Hindutva stance and rationalist Dwarkanath had even questioned the existence of Lord Rama.
"All these people were either admirers or supporters of Lankesh or had a viewpoint similar to hers. The others mentioned in the diary too were vocal about Hindutva," SIT sources told the Press Trust of India