Even as police claim that probe into the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was on the “right track”, no concrete clue to the August 20 broad daylight slaying seems to have emerged a month after the incident that jolted the progressive social movement in Maharashtra.
Protest marches and dharnas marked the public ire throughout the State in the last few says as activists and supporters of Dabholkar gave vent to their anger and disappointment over the pace of investigation which has practically drawn a blank even after a month.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajendera Bhamre, Investigating Officer of the murder that stirred the conscience of the nation, said his teams were in the process of getting essential clues and probe was on the “right track”.
“A huge amount of information and data in the case has been collected by police who are now in the process of getting essential clues from the inputs collected from 19 special squads drafted to crack the case.”
He, however, remained elusive about the motive behind the murder supposedly committed by two motorcycle-borne assailants who apparently shadowed the anti-superstition crusader and shot him dead from close range on a city bridge when he was taking a morning walk.
A London lab is processing the blurred CCTV footage to decipher the images of the killer duo supposedly captured by the cameras installed in a building in the vicinity after police technicians here failed to get anything concrete from their examination of the video clip.
The report from abroad was awaited, police said.
Police have so far interrogated about 2,000 history-sheeters in the entire State, including over 1,000 from Pune, in addition to inquiries with about 400 people who are regular morning walkers on the bridge in the heart of the city.
While making no secret of their disappointment with the slow pace of investigations, Dabholkar’s family has so far refrained from demanding a CBI inquiry into.
“We still have faith in Pune Police and do not feel that a stage has come to demand a CBI inquiry,” said Mukta, Dabholkar’s daughter and also an activist of the Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS), the anti-superstition group founded by the slain activist.
The high-profile case is being probed in the background of strong opposition by certain right-wing outfits to the anti-superstition bill Dabholkar was pushing for in Maharashtra with a sustained mass campaign.
The ongoing probe also saw Pune Police swooping on the Goa headquarters of “Sanatan Sanstha”, an organisation which opposed Dabholkar’s campaign, and conducting inquiries with some of its activists.
The inquiries, however, failed to reveal any information, police said.
In a candid admission, Pune Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol has gone on record to say that the culprits had “not left any evidence” behind after committing the dastardly act but the investigators were confident of a “breakthrough”.
A few days back, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil paid a visit to the Dabholkar family at their residence in adjoining Satara district and assured them that police investigations were going on in the “right direction.”
On the other hand, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has admitted that “no concrete clues” have so far surfaced in the probe.