An accused in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case has alleged that while he was being held by the Pune Police in another case, he was visited by a tantrik who asked him and a co-accused their dates of birth and sun signs in the presence of police officials.
Two months after this alleged encounter with the tantrik in November 2013, he was booked in the Dabholkar case, the accused, Vikas Khandelwal, has alleged. Police have rejected his allegations.
Khandelwal has claimed that the tantrik who met him and co-accused Manish Nagori was called Manish Thakur.
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Khandelwal, who is currently on bail, and was in the Pune court for a hearing in a separate case, told The Indian Express that Nagori and he had been taken into custody on November 27, 2013, and a day later, arrested for the 2012 murder of a guard on the University of Pune campus.
”After our arrests we were kept at Crime Branch Unit IV at Khadki. Although we had been booked in the university case, we were being questioned only about the Dabholkar murder. On the second or third day of our detention, we were visited by a godman who questioned us about our date of birth and rashi. He also asked us about my kundali. At least four police police officials were present in the room at that time. We answered all his questions,” Khandelwal claimed.
He identified Thakur as the tantrik from a picture.
A report in Outlook magazine this month alleged that the Pune Police took the help of godmen and a séance to obtain clues on Dabholkar’s murderers. Former Pune Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol had denied the report, saying, “No such thing ever happened in my ante chamber. The story is utterly false…”
Current Commissioner Satish Mathur had said, “My current team of investigators and I do not believe in any such superstitious practice and we are against its use under any circumstances.”
Khandelwal’s lawyer B A Aloor said Khandelwal had given him a detailed account of the alleged visit by the tantrik, and that he would take the police to court.
”My clients were falsely implicated in the murder case of Dr Dabholkar despite the police having no evidence of their involvement. It is now clear that they were booked based on the false information fed by the godman,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajendra Bhamare, who is investigating the Dabholkar case, denied that Thakur had visited Khandelwal and Nagori when they were in Crime Branch custody.
“He (Khandelwal) is a hardened criminal. Criminals like him who have dozens of cases registered against them will say anything to vilify and defame the police. They are obviously angry with us (police) because we arrest them, beat them up, interrogate them. Their allegations shouldn’t be believed,” Bhamare said.