Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Friday filed a 9,235-page additional charge sheet in the 5th September murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.

Eighteen people have been named in the case.

The Sanathan Sanstha, a controversial right wing organisation was also named in the charge sheet, according to one person directly familiar with the investigation.

The SIT had in August invoked the stringent Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA), 2000 in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, since it believed there was a larger conspiracy behind the crime. The SIT said it will continue its investigations.

Lankesh was killed outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru. The attack on Lankesh was likened to the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS, or Maharashtra Eradication of Superstition Committee) on 20 August 2013 in Pune, while he was out on his morning walk.

The Dabholkar killing was followed by the assassination of two more rationalist thinkers — senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Govind Pansare on 16 February 2015 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, and M.M.Kalburgi on 30 August 2015 in Dharwad, Karnataka.

“It’s a long battle," Kavitha Lankesh, a film director and Lankesh’s sister told Mint, referring to the court battle ahead. “I want the investigation team to go further and catch the big guys behind it," she added.

The SIT, during the course of its investigation, had found that several other rationalist thinkers were also in the ‘hit-list’ of such groups.

The delays in the investigation had raised doubt if the SIT would hit a dead end in this case like in the other three cases that continued to languish in courts.

“From the beginning, they (SIT) concocted stories and tried to link it the other three murders," N.P.Amruthesh, the counsel representing seven of the accused in the case, said.

The theory of links was used to invoke the Organised Crimes Act and harass those arrested in the case, he added. The defence counsel said he would move bail applications as well as a petition to quash the charge sheet within a week’s time.

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