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Tabloid EDITOR HAD A KILLER PLAN

Outrage over Gauri Lankesh’s murder may have altered Belagere’s plans of getting his employee killed


Did Ravi Belagere get inspired by the outrage over Gauri Lankesh’s murder and try to use this to his advantage while getting Sunil Heggaravalli eliminated? This is one of the line of investigations being pursued by the Central Crime Branch.

Belagere had allegedly hired hitman Shashidhar Mundewade to kill his employee Heggaravalli. Shahsi had tried to kill Sunil on August 28 but didn’t carry out the hit as he saw CCTV cameras in Heggaravalli’s building. He left Bengaluru and promised Belagere that he would return to finish the job.

Gauri Lankesh was gunned down on September 5.

“On September 14, Mundewade was arrested along with four others in Maharashtra. He was released from Kolhapur prison almost one and a half months later.

Belagere tried contacting him during this period but failed. We are probing whether there was any communication between Belagere and Mundewade after he got out of prison. It would have been a major challenge for the police and state if he had executed his plan and shot dead one more journalist dead in Bengaluru after Gauri Lankesh,” said Jinendra Kanagavi, Deputy Commissioner (Crime), Bengaluru city police.

Belagere and Heggravalli, his protégé, had fallen out over the latter’s alleged affair with Belagere’s second wife. After Gauri’s murder, Belagere patched up with Heggaravalli and asked him to return to his tabloid, Hi Bangalore, an offer that Heggaravalli did not refuse. Police say Belagere may have done this to establish a solid alibi.

Belagere denies charges

The Central Crime Branch police have taken Belagere into four-day custody and are grilling him to unravel the conspiracy plot. Police claim that Belagare has been strongly denying his involvement in the conspiracy and has been continuously dismissing allegations levelled against him.

Meanwhile, the police are planning to send the deer skin and tortoise shell seized from his house to the forest department to invoke relevant sections of the Wildlife Act against him. The two firearms recovered from his Padmanabha Nagar residence, including a double barrel gun, were found to be licensed. A team of CCB sleuths also conducted enquiry at the residence of his second wife near Rajarajeswari Nagar in connection with the probe on Saturday evening.

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