A 47-year-old witness from Kolhapur, Sanjay Sadwilkar, who helped the CBI crack the Narendra Dabholkar murder case, says he had met prime suspects and Sanatan Sanstha seekers Dr Virendra Tawde, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar a number of times in the months before the killing.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sadwilkar said he had three to four meetings with Tawde, three meetings with Akolkar and one with Vinay Pawar, all after April 2013 and a month before Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013.
Sadwilkar, who himself is a staunch Hindutva activist, owns a metal workshop in Kolhapur. He had himself approached the investigation agencies and named Tawde. He said he identified Akolkar and Pawar from the photographs shown to him by the CBI.
According to Sadwilkar, he started a non-political Hindutva group in 2001 and Tawde was among the several activists who used to come for their meetings. “There was no contact with Tawde after 2008. But in April 2013, he approached me and we later held three more meetings… Tawde asked me to make revolvers using my metallurgy skills. He then introduced me to a man during a meeting in Kolhapur whose name I did not know the name of this man. I only came to know later that he was Sarang Akolkar. Tawde said this man (Akolkar) will give me revolvers and asked me to make replica of it,” he said.
“In my second meeting, Akolkar came to my workshop after giving me a call from a landline telephone in Kolhapur. He came with two revolvers. It was afternoon and my workers were around. So I told him it was not possible for me to check the weapons. I said that in a few days, I would fix another spot for the meeting, where I can check the weapons. After a few days, without informing me, Akolkar again came to my workshop when I was not present. Then Tawde called me over phone saying his man (Akolkar) wanted to meet me and was waiting outside the workshop. So I went to my workshop. This was my third meeting with Akolkar. In this meeting too, I did not respond positively. So Akolkar left the place and never contacted me again,” Sadwilkar said.
He said these meetings happened about a month before Dabholkar was murdered in Pune. He also said that before the murder, Tawde had called him for making arrangements for stay of two persons.
“I asked Tawde whether these two persons had any criminal record. Tawde said they had no such record. I asked the motive behind their visit. I was told they wanted to do some search. When I pressed, I was told these men would be collecting information about some persons, like when these persons leave home, the timings of their market visits and other places. When the duo came to meet me, it was Vinay Pawar with whom I had some face-to-face interaction,” Sadwilkar said.
Dabholkar was shot by two persons at 7.20 am while he was on a morning walk in Pune on August 20, 2013. In a similar incident, two persons had opened fire at Communist leader Govind Pansare and his wife Uma while they were returning home from morning walk in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015. Pansare had died while undergoing treatment at the hospital on February 20. Uma received a bullet injury but survived.
Sadwilkar said he was stunned after Pansare’s killing and approached the Kolhapur police and told them to pick up Tawde for leads. Tawde was finally questioned only after CBI took over the Dabholkar murder probe.
Meanwhile, the SIT probing Pansare’s murder took Tawde’s custody last week for probing his role.