The Special Investigating team looking into the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh had released sketches of two suspects on Saturday, October 14. However, this has become a major cause of concern for the team as well as a BJP MLA since one of the suspects resembles the minister’s personal assistant.
M Prabhakar, PA to Tumakuru (rural) MLA B Suresh Gowda received a barrage of calls from friends and supporters informing him that one of the suspects resembled him. Some of them also asked him if he was indeed the suspect.
"I am numb. I don't know if I should protest. All I am worried is that how can I stop this nuisance of people asking me all sorts of questions," said Prabhakar to the Times of India.
Sketch of suspect (left); M Prabhakar (right)
Calls informing him that one of the suspects resembled him have left him exasperated. He is also mulling filing a defamation suit against those who call him and ask questions. "I am recording the calls I am receiving and will take action against those who harass me. I don't want even media calls in this regard," he said.
The SIT released the sketches of the two suspects, 40 days after Gauri was shot dead near her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. SIT officials said the sketches were based on the accounts provided by an eyewitness and technical inputs. They said they have CCTV footage of the bike-borne suspects with their helmet visors up and leveraged artificial intelligence to get two artists to come up with the sketches.
However, when the information that one of the suspects resembles a BJP minister’s PA reached the police, they were allegedly embarrassed. They fear that the goof up may derail the investigation.
SIT chief BK Singh said he'd verify the accuracy of the sketches, if required. "They are an approximation, not actual photographs. If they resemble someone who has nothing to do with the case, then we will verify it," said the inspector general of police (intelligence) to TOI.
"It is not just unfair to the innocent person, but (it's) a serious lapse. Such comedy of errors carries the potential to derail probe and delay justice delivery," said MLA Suresh Gowda to TOI.
"Gauri is said to have been killed around 8pm on September 5. I was in Tumkur at that time. I feel strange I've to even give this explanation," said Prabhakar. The MLA too said that Prabhakar was with him on that fateful day and they holding a protest in front of the office of the deputy com missioner of Tumakuru to demand Hemavathi river water for the district.