Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case has nabbed accused Rushikesh Devdikar alias Murali, who was absconding, on Thursday evening in connection with the case.

Rushikesh Devdikar (44) who hails from Aurangabad is the 18th suspect in the case and was primarily involved in the conspiracy to murder gauri Lankesh, said chief investigating officer Anucheth.  

He is considered part of the top leadership of the gang that executed the murder, next to Amol Kale and Virendra Tawade.

Rushikesh was hiding in a house in Katras, Dhanbad in Jharkhand when police arrested him.

Rushikesh will be produced before the local Judicial Magistrate in Dhanbad on Friday, said Anucheth, adding that the SIT had searched his house for clues. "We will obtain a transit warrant from the court and then bring him to Bengaluru,” the police officer said.

Originally from Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Rushikesh's family still lives there.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at the doorstep of her residence in Ideal Homes Layout in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in the night of September 5, 2017.

The SIT constituted to probe the case had arrested 16 people and had submitted a chargesheet to the court against 18 people, including two absconding persons - accused no. 17 Vikas Patil alias Dada alias Nihal and accused no. 18 Rushikesh Devdikar alias Murali alias Shiva.

According to the chargesheet, the murder was committed by an organised crime syndicate headed by Amol Kale and its top members were Amit Degvekar, Vikas Patil and Devdikar. Among the accused persons chargesheeted, Vikas Patil is still absconding.