Suspected arms dealers” Manish Nagori alias Manya (24) and Vilas Khandelwal (22) Tuesday sparked off a controversy as they told a local court that Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria offered them Rs 25 lakh for falsely confessing their involvement in the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar. They also alleged “political pressure” on the police to solve the case. Nagori and Khandelwal were arrested by the Pune police Monday for Dabholkar’s murder and produced before the magistrate’s court Tuesday.
The duo told the court they had nothing to do with the Dabholkar murder case. “We were arrested by the Thane police in the Mumbra case around 10.15 am on August 20. And Dabholkar was murdered in Pune around 8 am on the same day. Have we taken a plane or helicopter to reach Thane? We were not in Pune when the murder took place. Our cell phone call details also show our locations. Police have arrested us under political pressure,” they said.
“We were earlier arrested by the ATS. Maria saheb offered us Rs 25 lakh to confess the crime. The police told us there was huge political pressure from R R Patil (Home Minister). We were repeatedly questioned about Dabholkar case. Our narco analysis and lie detector tests were conducted too,” they said.
The ATS said the allegations levelled by Nagori and Khandelwal were baseless and false. Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjiv Singhal said there was no political pressure on them.
The police submitted before the court that three firearms were recovered by the Mumbra police from the suspects and their three aides when they were arrested in an extortion case in Thane. A ballistic report of these firearms was received on December 7, 2013, which said the 7.65 mm pistol recovered from Khandelwal and the firearms used to kill Dabholkar was same, the police submitted.