Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Saturday once again stated that police have zeroed in on Gauri Lankesh’s killers but need time to collect evidence against them. The statement is the latest by Reddy who has been trying to deflect criticism about the sluggishness in the investigation being conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
The minister, whose statements have often been at odds with the SIT, had said in the beginning of October that they already knew Gauri’s killers almost a fortnight before it decided to release sketches of the shooters, who killed the journalist-activist on September 5.
The minister has been shielding criticism claiming they had strong clues that could not be revealed as it would compromise the investigation. “The progress by our SIT has been good,” he said in a media interaction.
No measurable progress
More than two months after Gauri’s death, there is no measurable progress or any inkling that the investigation might bear fruitful results in the near future. At the same time, Kavitha, sister of Gauri, has given the police time until December 5 to solve the case, failing which she is contemplating seeking a court-monitored probe.
The minister who called himself soft at heart and tough in taking decisions said that he had given strict instructions to his police officers to give priority to curbing rowdy elements and ensuring women’s safety.
“Officers have been told not to hesitate to book cases under Goonda Act for repeat offenders and also book cases under Pocso Act for offences against children. Cases under Goonda Act will also prevent them from committing crimes and immediately getting bail,” he said.
Asked about increasing incidents of police using firearms while rounding up offenders, Reddy said, “If the situation demands it and they feel they need to use it then they should. There is a reason for them to carry firearms. As long as they feel it is justified, there is nothing wrong with it.”