THE SANATAN Sanstha denied on Monday that the Bombay High Court was hinting at its support when it recently observed that two absconding accused in the murder cases of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare had “organisational back up”. Talking to Pune Newsline, Sanatan spokesperson Abhay Vartak said, “When the court said the two accused had organisatinal support, it was certainly not pointing at Sanatan’s support.”
The HC had observed that murders of rationalists Dabholkar and Pansare were not “stray incidents” and the accused seemed to have “organisational back up.” The court had also pointed out at the need for making more concerted efforts towards tracing the absconding accused.
Dabholkar was shot on August 20, 2013, in Pune, while Pansare was shot on February 16 in Kolhapur and died on February 20, 2015.
Emphasising that the “security of the state was at stake here”, Justice S C Dharmadhikari had recently observed, “It is impossible for the absconding accused to remain in hiding for so long at an individual level. These are not stray acts. The accused cannot be absconding for so long without organisational back up. Look into where they are getting funding from.”
Responding to the observation, Vartak said, “The court was being mislead by the CBI, which was not placing appropriate facts before it.” “The alleged witness on whose statement Dr Virendra Tawde was arrested was involved in a financial scam. This and other related facts have not been brought to the court’s notice. And therefore Sanatan would also like to have its say before the court,” he added.
Asked about the court’s observation regarding organisational support to absconding accused Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, Vartak said, “The court’s observation did not pertain to Sanatan. The duo must be associated with several other organisations too. Anyway, the court has not named Sanatan as the organisation backing the two. So there is no question of Sanatan being the organisation the court was hinting at…,” he said.
Both Akolkar and Pawar were Sanatan members. A division bench, comprising Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Vibha Kankanvadi, was hearing petitions by family members of Dabholkar and Pansare where they had expressed dissatisfaction with the probes — which, in Dabholkar’s case, were led by the CBI, and in Pansare’s case by a special investigation team of the state police.
They had urged the High Court to step in and monitor the probe. The bench said there was a “clear nexus” between the two killings. The HC observations came after the Special Task Force (STF) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted their probe reports in the murder cases.
The CBI’s Special Crime Branch has announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh in exchange of information about Sanatan Sanstha members Sarang Akolkar (35) and Vinay Baburao Pawar (37), both accused in the murder cases of Dabholkar and Pansare. Both have been absconding since the 2009 Goa blast case, said police.
The Dabholkar family, however, said the court’s observation clearly points finger at the Sanstha. Hamid Dabholkar, son of the slain rationalist, said, “Since the two absconders are members of the (Sanatan) organisation, it is obvious that the court was pointing at that particular organisation.”
The Dabholkar family has been waiting for an appointment with the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking his reply on whether the state government was planning to ban Sanatan. Hamid added, “The Chief Minister should clarify his and the government’s stand on whether they intend to ban the organisation or not. People of Maharashtra want to know the government’s intention. We do not understand why the Chief Minister has maintained silence over the issue.”
The family said the CMO has asked them to wait for an appointment with the CM, adding that the CMO’s contention that it needed more proof to ban Sanatan does not hold ground. Hamid asked, “When the then Congress government in the state had already submitted an initial 1,000-page dossier, which was followed by an additional proof, how much more proof does the CM need?”