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Dabholkar murder | Accused asked Hindutva activist to make pistol replica, arrange for bullets, says prosecution

Narendra Dabholkar. File.

Narendra Dabholkar. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

Virendrasinh Tawde, the prime accused in the rationalist Narendra Dabholkar murder case, had asked Sanjay Sadvilkar, now a key prosecution witness, to arrange for bullets, code-named "chocolates", and make a pistol replica, the prosecution said on Saturday.

This was revealed by Sadvilkar during his examination in the special court by special public prosecutor (SPP) Prakash Suryawanshi.

"Sanjay Sadvilkar who owned a shop selling idols etc. told the court that due to his business he was attracted to a Hindutva organisation. He got in touch with Dr Tawde, an accused in the Dabholkar murder case, and started working with him occasionally. On the occasion of Sant Gadge Maharaj jayanti, Tawde had a verbal spat with Dabholkar," Mr. Suryawanshi said quoting Sadvilkar.

Mr. Sadvilkar later stopped social work after he suffered a heart attack, he said.

"Tawde again met him and asked if he could do some business. Sadvilkar was then called at a railway crossing where he was introduced to a person. Sadvilkar was told that that person will bring him a revolver and a pistol and he should make a replica," the special public prosecutor said.

Mr. Sadvilkar was shown a pistol but he asked the man to let him see the pistol from the inside to make a replica.

"Sadvilkar then rented a flat to do the work. Later Tawde started calling Sadvilkar repeatedly. On one occasion, he told Sadvilkar that a man sent by him had come with a revolver to his shop. Sadvilkar grew suspicious that he might be framed and contacted a police officer he knew, but the officer was not present," Mr. Suryawanshi said.

Later, Mr. Tawde called him up and said he was sending two men to stay at his place for keeping a watch on certain people coming and going to work.

Mr. Suryawanshi said Mr. Tawde then met Mr. Sadvilkar and asked him to do the "final job" to arrange for "chocolates", a code name for bullets.

Mr. Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013, when he was on a morning walk on the Onkareshwar Bridge in Pune.

"After Dabholkar was shot dead, Sadvilkar contacted the police and informed them about his meeting with Tawde and other incidents. He recorded his statements with the ATS and the CBI," the SPP said.

Mr. Sadvilkar's cross-examination will be conducted on July 8.

In June 2014, the CBI took over the Dabholkar murder probe following an order by the Bombay High Court. Based on a witness statement made by Hindutva activist Sanjay Sadvilkar, the CBI arrested ENT surgeon Dr Virendrasinh Tawade, who was linked to the radical outfit Sanatan Sanstha, in June 2016. According to CBI, Mr. Tawde was one of the masterminds behind the murder conspiracy.

Besides Mr. Tawde, two alleged shooters — Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar- were also arrested.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 4:22:29 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dabholkar-murder-accused-asked-hindutva-activist-to-make-pistol-replica-arrange-for-bullets-says-prosecution/article65541058.ece