Accused in Gauri Lankesh case consents to lie detector test
Bengaluru: K.T. Naveen Kumar, an accused in the 5 September 2017 murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh murder, has given his consent for a lie detector test, according to two people aware of the developments.
Kumar, who was taken in for questioning by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder, was named as an accused in the case on Friday.
“The court asked the accused if the test could be conducted on him and he has agreed,” Veda Murthy, defence counsel for Kumar said on Monday.
According to senior police officials, the court has allowed two tests—lie detector and Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature profiling—after the accused gave his consent.
The tests will have to be conducted at the forensic sciences laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The police will have to place a request and then await a date from the laboratory to conduct the tests.
However, the evidence from such tests have limited application, according to a senior lawyer practicing in Karnataka High Court. The lawyer, who did not wish to be named, said that the findings cannot be presented as primary evidence or the basis for conviction but can be corroborative. According to the police official cited above, the tests can be used only for investigative leads and cannot be presented in the court as evidence.
Kumar, who had initially denied his consent for conducting the tests, had subsequently agreed to undergo them. Murthy said that Kumar did not know about what the test meant and had denied his consent. “After explanation, he said that if the test helps prove his innocence, he was willing to go through it,” Murthy said, speaking on behalf of Kumar.
Kumar, a local gun runner, was arrested on 18 February for carrying live ammunition and police were questioning his alleged role in hatching a plot to kill rationalist thinker K.S. Bhagwan. The SIT, set up to probe the murder of Lankesh, had then taken Kumar for questioning on 3 March suspecting his involvement in the Lankesh case. Subsequently, he was produced before the courts in Bengaluru and named as accused in the Lankesh murder case. Kumar’s arrests and suspected links to the sensational murder, was seen as the first breakthrough by the SIT which has so far been unable to make any substantial progress in the case.
Lankesh, a progressive activist and editor of Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot down by unknown assailants outside her home in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar on 5 September last year.
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