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Dabholkar murder: court extends Tawde’s custody with CBI till June 20

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CBI has sought further custodial interrogation of the accused, alleging that Dr.Tawde was "not cooperating with the investigating agency".

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was on Thursday granted permission till June 20 to quiz Dr. Virendra Tawde, the fringe rightwing Hindutva activist arrested recently by the agency in connection with his alleged complicity in the 2013 murder of noted rationalist-thinker Narendra Dabholkar.

A special court extended Dr.Tawde’s CBI custody following the recent string of revelations emanating with the agency’s grilling of their suspect. CBI lawyer B.P. Raju sought further custodial interrogation of the accused, alleging that Dr.Tawde was “not cooperating with the investigating agency”.

Masterminding the murder

From the scrutiny of Dr.Tawde’s e-mail and call records, it has emerged that Dr.Tawde, an ENT specialist, allegedly masterminded the rationalist’s murder. The actual execution is said to have been carried out by the two absconding Sanatan Sanstha activists Sarang Akolkar and Rudra Patil. Both of them have been on the run after the 2009 Goa blast.

Akolkar is considered a strong prospect for one of the shooters due to his resemblance to one of the sketches of the assailants published by the CBI, and the authorities’ surmise that he had reconnoitred the murder spot days before the incident. Mr. Dabholkar was shot while taking his morning stroll on city’s Omkareshwar Bridge.

It has also transpired that Dr.Tawde and Akolkar wanted to eliminate Mr.Dabholkar in 2009 itself, but were compelled to postpone it following the botched Madgaon explosion in Goa. Two of their own fraternity were inadvertently killed after the bomb accidentally exploded in a crowded area in Madgaon.

CBI raid

Earlier this month, Akolkar’s house in Pune’s Shaniwar Peth area was raided by the CBI. The agency believed they had precise information as to his whereabouts. It is believed he kept making lengthy, furtive visits to Maharashtra despite officially ‘absconding’ as his electricity bills were in order and paid till March.

It is being speculated that both Akolkar and Patil might be in hiding in the Konkan region.

On Wednesday, CBI officials seized a black Splendor motorcycle from Panvel allegedly used in the murders of both Dr. Dabholkar and Communist leader Govind Pansare.

Tawde's hatred toward's the rationalists

It has emerged from the CBI’s interrogation of Dr.Tawde that the latter allegedly nurtured hatred towards both the murdered rationalists and had repeatedly disrupted their public addresses in Kolhapur.

The posssibility of Rudra Patil’s physical involvement in Dr. Dabholkar’s murder has opened up the question of his close involvement in the killing of Mr. Pansare in Kolhapur in February last year.

The suspicion has gained credence owing to Patil’s association with arrested Sanatan activist, Sameer Gaikwad, prime accused in Mr. Pansare’s murder.

Motorcycle-borne assailants had killed Dr. Dabholkar with a 7.65-mm country-made pistol in Pune, while Mr. Pansare, and his wife Uma, were shot at five times from two 7.65-mm country-made weapons. The same modus operandi was used in the murder of scholar-thinker M.M. Kalburgi, the former vice-chancellor of the Kannada University in Hampi, outside his home in Dharwad in August last year.

Forensic tests have established that the same murder weapon used in all three cases.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 7:23:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Dabholkar-murder-court-extends-Tawde%E2%80%99s-custody-with-CBI-till-June-20/article14425976.ece

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