THE GUJARAT Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report on the 7.65 bore pistol, which was recovered from Sachin Andure, arrested by the CBI for allegedly murdering rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, and which was being suspected to be the common weapon used in the killings of other rationalists like Gauri Lankesh, MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, has come out to be negative, sources told The Indian Express.
Investigators now believe that the weapon might have been used during firing practices by two shooters — Andure and Sharad Kalaskar — as the report has stated that bullets had been fired from it in the past.
The countrymade pistol was part of a huge cache of arms and ammunition recovered earlier this year by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) during it crackdown against radical Hindu groups, who were allegedly planning to carry out attacks in the state. Sources said that the CBI now plans to send the other recovered pistols to the Gujarat FSL for forensic tests to ascertain if any of the weapons was used to kill the four rationalists.
Meanwhile, invoking the stringent provisions of the anti-terror law, the CBI on Monday told a special Pune court that 37 social activists, mainly hailing from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, were on the hit list of Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha and it sister concern, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS). It added that the list referred to Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh also SP (CBI) Nandakumar Nair, who is probing the Dabholkar case. The CBI has arrested members of Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS for Dabholkar’s murder.
“The accused wanted to follow/execute the teachings of Kshatra Dharma Sadhana (fulfilling the duties of a Kshatriya) advocated by Sanatan Sanstha and HJS… these people (accused) had capacity to fulfilling illegal/terrorist activities to terrorise or eliminate such people considered or termed as evildoers, anti-Hindu, dharma drohi, rakshas or durjan and are opposed to the beliefs and the customs of Sanatan Sanstha and HJS,” the CBI has said in its application while seeking that those arrested be booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
“Dabholkar murder was a well planned, premeditated, deliberate and systematically rehearsed and executed murder… committed to create fear and terror in the society and the intimidated a section of the society and social activities particularly the members of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (founded by Dabholkar)… Crime(s) were committed to affect the society at large and the disturb the harmony in the society and public life,” the application added, implying that Dabholkar’s murder was an act of terror.
After the CBI’s revelation, security have extended to all the 36 activists. “During the probe into the Gauri Lankesh murder case, the Karnataka SIT stumbled upon on a few diaries maintained by another arrested accused, Amol Kale. In three such diaries, we found that they had drawn a list of 37 people, including Lankesh and the CBI SP, who needed to be eliminated. These names were mentioned in coded languages. Like ‘Amma’ was the code for Lankesh and ‘Mumbai SP’ for SP Nair,” said a senior official.
“This information was communicated to the police of the states where these 36 reside, following which security has been extended to them… These social activities have expressed views considered anti-Hindu by Sanatan Sanstha or HJS,” he added.
On the Gujarat FSL report, the official said that the CBI has collected other technical evidence to help bolster its case. “We suspected that the weapon recovered from Andure was the common weapon used in the four murders. However, the FSL report states while the weapon has been used in the past to fire, it wasn’t used in the murders of any of the four victims. We now suspect that this was not the murder weapon but used by the two accused while undertaking training.”
Five years after the murder of Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, the CBI is hopeful that it may recover the murder weapon. “Despite having a cache of weapons, we suspect that the accused used the common weapons in all murders… it could be related to superstition. Since it gave them success in Dabholkar case, they decided to use it in other cases too,” said the official.