CBI charges Tawde with Dabholkar’s murder

It names Sanatan Sanstha member Virendra Tawde as the main conspirator.

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:40 am IST

Published - September 07, 2016 02:25 pm IST - MUMBAI

Social activist Narendra Dabholkar was killed on August 20, 2013.

Social activist Narendra Dabholkar was killed on August 20, 2013.

Three years after rationalist Narendra Dabholkar’s murder in Pune, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday filed the first charge sheet accusing Virendra Tawde of murder and hatching conspiracy.

Tawde is a member of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), affiliated to the controversial right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha.

The charge sheet names two absconding members of the Sanstha — Vinay Pawar and Sarang Akolkar — for the murder on August 20, 2013.

Akolkar is a wanted accused in the 2009 Madgaon bomb blast and has a red corner notice against his name. Pawar, the second alleged assailant, has no other case against him.

The muder case was handed over to CBI in June 2014 and Tawde was arrested on June 10.

He faces charges under Sections 120 (B) and 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

While the other two have been mentioned in the charge sheet, the investigation is still in progress.

The CBI filed the charge sheet before the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Pune, against Tawde, an ENT surgeon who gave up his practice in 2001 to become a member of the Sanatan Sanstha.

‘Criminal conspiracy’ The charge sheet says, “On 20/08/2013, in pursuance of the criminal conspiracy of Dr. Virendra Tawde with two assailants, Vinay Pawar and Sarang Akolkar of Sanatan Sanstha, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead at 7.25 a.m. on Omkareshwar Bridge.”

Two eye-witnesses, the charge sheet says, identified the accused when they were shown the sketches and photographs of Pawar and Akolkar.The charge sheet states the motive for the murder was allegedly the long enmity and hatred for the Maharashtra Andhashradda Nirmulan Samiti (MANS), founded by Dr. Dabholkar.

According to the charge sheet, Tawde worked for HJS in Kolhapur from 2001 to 2007. In July 2007, he was asked by Durgesh Samant, one of the senior members of Sanstha, to concentrate only on the anti-superstition Bill, which was then pending in the Maharashtra Assembly. The Bill was strongly promoted by Dr. Dabholkar, a rationalist.

The charge sheet also mentions the raid by CBI at Tawde’s Panvel house and the seizure of a hard disk containing photos and written material against Dr. Dabholkar, and a folder called ‘Dharmadrohi’. The folder had photographs of Dr. Dabholkar, two senior police officers (not named by CBI), and few group photos of members of Muslim community being felicitated by some police officers. Data from Tawde’s computer and e-mail account further showed that he was in constant touch with Sarang Akolkar, a wanted accused in the Madgaon blast case.

In April 2013, Tawde visited Kolhapur to meet an ex-aide and sought help in making firearms and weapons. Tawde also introduced Akolkar to him, who later showed high quality country made pistol and revolver which he was carrying. Later, Vinay Pawar too accompanied them to a meeting with the said ex-aide. It is alleged that the duo was visiting Kolhapur to recce the routine of slain Communist leader Govind Pansare, who also was shot dead in 2014.

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