BENGALURU/ MADIKERI : Rajesh D Bangera, the 10th accused to be arrested in connection with journalist Gauri Lankesh murder, has reportedly confessed before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that he had trained Parashuram Waghmare, the suspected shooter, in using firearms and supplied live bullets to the killers, reports The New Indian Express (TNIE).
Bangera (50), a resident of Paluru in Kodagu district, was working as personal assistant to Kodagu Congress MLC Veena Achaiah. He was very quiet and did not speak much or socialize with others, sources said.
Earlier, he worked as an official in the Education department and later worked as PA to District Panchayat Official Sherin Subbaiah, before working under Veena Achaiah.
His government jobs ensured him a fixed monthly income and also guaranteed him enough free time to handle his other private and personal activities.
All of his employers were unaware of his activities and he normally kept to himself and did not mix around with his colleagues much.
The Congresss MLC or the office was not in touch with Bangera after he quit his job.
Sources said that Bangera had been an adherent and active member of a Sanatan Sanstha and he had left the organisation after getting a government job.
Though he left the Sanathan Sanstha on paper to avoid red flags at his place of work, he maintained close links with its members and was in touch with 2-3 members who were part of a secret extremist group on a regular basis.
The SIT officials had landed in Kodagu a week ago before arresting him on Tuesday.
The SIT has submitted his voluntary statement to the court in a sealed cover and it is learnt that Bangera has confessed to his role in Gauri’s killing.
“He has two gun licences and is well-trained in shooting.He owns a private weapon and trains others in air-rifle shooting, reports The New Indian Express.
He has close ties with accused Amol Kale and others.
He has confessed to have procured and supplied 20 live bullets to the team that is behind Gauri’s murder.
Prior to that, he admitted he trained Parashuram Waghmare, Ganesh Miskin and others associated with the outfit in firing.
The training sessions were held at several places in Karnataka and Maharashtra,” an SIT official said.
Bangera’s name surfaced in a diary seized from Kale’s possession.
“Kale had written ‘Rajesh Sir’ in the diary and that is where we got to know of him initially.
We followed the lead and gathered more information about him,” the official added.