Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendrasing Tawde was on Wednesday charged-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation for the 2013 broad daylight killing of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, who it allegedly considered a ‘Dharma Drohi’ (traitor to religion).
The CBI filed a chargesheet before Judicial Magistrate First Class, Pune, against Tawde, an ear-nose-throat surgeon who gave up his practice in 2001 to become member of Sanatan Sanstha, levelling charges under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy and murder.
“The motive for the murder of Narendra Dabholkar was allegedly the long enmity/hatred that existed between two private organisations. Narendra Dabholkar was the founder of a Satara-based organisation (Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti) and the accused (doctor) was part of another other private organisation based at Kolhapur (Maharashtra) (Sanatan Sanstha),” the CBI spokesperson said.
The agency has managed to piece together links of Tawde with Sanstha, shooter-killer Vinay Pawar and another person involved in criminal conspiracy Sarang Akolkar, who is wanted by the National Investigation Agency in Goa blast case. A Red Corner Notice is pending against him, sources in the agency said, giving details of chargesheet.
The crucial piece of evidence with the CBI is the emails of Tawde, besides testimony of some key persons whose help was sought in the murder of Dabholkar whose tireless campaign against superstitious practices resulted in Maharashtra enacting a law to check them, they said.
The CBI said the campaign was seen by Sanatan Sanstha as against Hindu religion and the organisation described Dabholkar as Dharma Dhrohi.
Tawde had allegedly tried to procure countrymade guns from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and even attempted to manufacture the weapons, they said.
Tawde was also accused of trying to procure foreign made weapons, including assault rifles from Assam.
Sources alleged a few years back Tawde was pursuing an agenda of arming 15,000 persons with sophisticated weapons to ‘defend the religion’ and even sanctioned that cadres may ‘indulge in loot and theft’ to arrange the money for it.
Akolkar and alleged shooter Pawar are still absconding.
CBI sources said two days before Dabholkar was killed, an article had appeared in Dainik Sanatan Prabhat published by Sanatan Sanstha which carried the sketch of a person, denoting ‘ANS’ (Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti) of the rationalist, lying on ground with a flag piercing his chest and blood oozing out.
The sources said it could have been a signal to assassinate of Dabholkar.
Hindu Janjagruti Samiti is an affiliate of Sanatan Sanstha.
“In the ongoing investigation, searches were conducted on June 01, 2016 at Pune (Akolkar) and Panvel (Tawde), both in Maharashtra in the premises of two private persons, including a doctor and another private person who was absconding in Goa Blast case of 2009. Certain documents and mobile numbers and e-mails etc recovered during searches were scrutinised,” the official said.
The agency is likely to file more charge sheets in the matter, the spokesperson said.
“Initial investigation revealed that the said doctor had allegedly conspired to the murder of Narendra Dabholkar with two other accused persons including an absconder. Further investigation is continuing to unearth the entire conspiracy and to reveal the identity of all known/unknown accused,” she said.
IMAGE: Dr Dabholkar had campaigned aggressively for an anti-superstition law in Maharashtra which many say irked several right-wing groups.