Gauri Lankesh’s killers are long gone and the trail is cold, expecting justice is a fool’s errand

By now, the masterminds of Gauri Lankesh’s murder have surely put enough space between themselves and those who carried out the dastardly act.

File image of Gauri Lankesh. PTI

File image of Gauri Lankesh. PTI

Around the world, police say that if you don’t get a lead in the first 48 hours of a capital crime, the trail grows cold.

According to Crime Investigation, a website dedicated to police work around the globe: “In medicine, this is called the ‘critical hour.’ In criminal investigations, they call it ‘the first 48 hours’. Ask any detective: They’ll tell you that if they don’t have a lead, a suspect or an arrest within 48 hours, their chances of solving the case are cut in half.”

In this case, five days have passed. No clues have been uncovered. Investigative agencies are on thin ice. With every passing hour, the degrees of separation between Lankesh’s assailants and investigators increase exponentially.

Usually, after a high-profile crime, there is a flurry of activity. A special squad is assembled. The police prepare to hunt the suspects down. In this case, not only is such activity absent entirely, there is hardly news of arrests or roping in those who might be able to assist the probe.

Instead of the police making a list of enemies and people who may have had a motive to target her, we get news of Lankesh’s parents exhorting chief minister Siddaramaiah to find the killer and his dutiful response. Why should grieving parents be forced to undergo this torture of appealing for justice?

What is worrying is that even as the authorities get their ducks in a row — and let’s be fair, they may be  playing their cards close to their chest — Lankesh’s reputation as a firebrand, her many rows with the rich and powerful combined with the fact that she was a thorn in the side of vested interests makes it likely that influence might be exerted on various levels to thwart the hunt for her killers.

Add to all this, the public has the memory of a goldfish. For Lankesh’s killers, all these factors could combine to find a way out of this sticky mess. Today, news is like a firecracker. It explodes with a loud bang, shines briefly and then dissipates.

Does anyone remember our man in Pakistan? For those that don’t, that would be naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Where is Honeypreet Insan? How has she continued to elude an international manhunt?

Who killed the 7-year-old at Ryan International School?

It isn’t wrong to say that with all the unsubstantiated accusations flying about and obscuring the principal issue of who killed Lankesh, the fear is that political parties are using her death to sling mud at each other.

The fear is that some patsy, wearing a scarf around his neck and flanked by ten smug policemen, will be paraded in a few days. Case closed.

The nation will be told: It was a clear cut case of personal vendetta. It had nothing to do with conspiracies hatched in the corridors of power, be they political or economic.

Only the gullible would fall for this line, but it seems that every day, the ranks of the gullible are swelling.

Besides, no one really wants to follow the crumbs to its logical (and perhaps awkward destination).

And if as many as 40 witnesses connected to the Vyapam Scam can be eliminated in the past twenty years, then by comparison Lankesh’s killing is small fry.

It is extremely unlikely that we will ever learn who ordered Lankesh’s death.

That bird has already flown the coop, it seems.

Which is a real pity.

Published Date: Sep 10, 2017 12:18 pm | Updated Date: Sep 10, 2017 12:23 pm

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