August 17, 2019 1:59:51 am
Nearly six years after Dr Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune, members of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS), an organisation founded by the rationalist, posed a question to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday: when will the masterminds behind the murder be arrested?
At a press conference in Pune, Dabholkar’s son Hamid and other MANS activists alleged that the probe in the murder case, conducted by the CBI, was going at a very slow pace. “After the CBI arrested the assailants Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, we were hopeful that the investigation would go ahead speedily. But the investigators have failed to arrest the masterminds behind the murder,” said Hamid.
“The investigation by police agencies has revealed that the murders of Dr Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M N Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh were carried out with the same motive and one extremist organisation is suspected to be behind all four crimes. Still, the government is not taking stern action against this extremist organisation…The main conspirators who brainwashed the assailants in a planned manner should be held. Otherwise, the threat to the lives of rationalist persons in society will continue,” he added.
In June 2016, the CBI had arrested ENT surgeon and Sanatan Sanstha member Dr Virendra Tawade, alleging that he was the mastermind of the conspiracy to kill Dabholkar. In the chargesheet against Tawade, the CBI mentioned that Sanatan Sanstha activists Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar had shot dead Dabholkar. But later, the agency claimed that arrested accused Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar had shot Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, while he was on his morning walk in Pune.
The CBI has also taken custody of three others Amol Kale, Amit Digwekar and Rajesh Bangera — who are also accused in the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, who was killed near her residence in Bengaluru in September 2017.
In December last year, a court in Pune granted “default bail” to these three suspects in the Dabholkar murder case as the CBI did not file a chargesheet against them within the stipulated period of 90 days. However, they continue to be in jail for their alleged involvement in the Lankesh murder case.
Hamid expressed his unhappiness at the CBI not filing a chargesheet against Kale, Digvekar and Bangera, due to which they got bail.
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