On August 9, 2013, P K Adbhai, a teacher from Rahuri in Ahmednagar district and a friend of Dr Narendra Dabholkar got a call about which he cannot stop thinking even though it’s been a year now. That morning, 11 days before rationalist Dabholkar was murdered in Pune, Adbhai got a call on his mobile phone from an unknown number.
The caller who did not identify himself said in broken English: “Your doctor is killed….contact Vishrambaug Wada police station in Pune”. The caller then disconnected.
“Naturally, I panicked. I thought the caller referred to my son, a doctor practising in Dhule. I immediately called him up and checked. He was fine. Then I got a number of the Vishrambaug Wada Police station, called them up and told them about the call. They said there was no such incident that morning,” Adbhai told The Indian Express.
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As a precaution, Adbhai approached local police in Rahuri and registered a complaint the same day. On August 20, when he saw news of Dr Dabholkar murder on television, he started thinking about the call in a different light. “All of us used to refer to Mr Dabholkar as ‘Doctor’. Also, when in Pune, he used to stay near Vishrambaug Wada police station. It obviously led me to suspect that the call I received 11 days prior to the incident had something to do with the murder and those behind it,” said Adbhai.
Soon, he told Ranjana Gawande, Ahmednagar Executive President of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, about the call and she informed the officer investigating the murder case. “We thought the information could be useful for police to track down the killers. So I called up Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajendra Bhamre investigating the case and gave him the number from which Adbhai had received the call,” Gawande said.
Following this, according to Adbhai, a police team visited his residence in Rahuri and took his statement. They took a copy of the application he had submitted to Rahuri Police. After a fortnight, Gawande called up Bhamre who informed her that they had checked the number and it was from a public booth in Pune and the caller could not be traced.
When contacted, ACP Bhamre said, “All the documents have now been handed over to the CBI. I cannot comment about this off hand.”