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Dr Dabholkar murder trial: Cross-examination of eyewitness continues in Pune court

Kamble, who was employed as a sweeper with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), was present when the two men fired at Dabholkar which led to his death.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: March 24, 2022 11:14:53 am
Narendra Dabholkar, Narendra Dabholkar murder, Dabholkar murder trial, Pune police, Pune news, indian expressNarendra Dabholkar. (File)

The cross-examination of an eyewitness in the murder case of Narendra Dabholkar, who identified two shooters during the last hearing, continued before the trial court in Pune Wednesday. The case is being heard in the Special Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act Court of Additional Sessions Judge SR Navandar.

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Days after the murder, Kiran Keshav Kamble’s statement was recorded by the Pune City police. Kamble, who was employed as a sweeper with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), was present when the two men fired at Dabholkar which led to his death. At the time of the shooting, Kamble was sitting on the road divider after finishing his duty.

Kamble saw the two assailants shoot at Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, and then walk toward the Shaniwar Peth police chowki and escaped on a motorcycle. He identified the photographs of the assailants before the CBI after the central agency took over the probe.

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During the hearing of the case on March 19 and his chief examination by Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi, Kamble identified the two accused—Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar—as the men who shot at Dabholkar. The cross-examination of Kamble by defence counsels Prakash Salsingikar and Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, which started on March 19, continued on Wednesday. The hearing is slated to continue further on March 29.

During his cross-examination, Kamble was mainly quizzed on his statement recorded by the Pune police and the photo identification he did of the accused in the CBI office in presence of the investigation officer. Speaking to The Indian Express, Salsingikar said, “During the cross-examination, the witness was questioned about clothes of the person who was shot at, who else were present around the place at the time, the wound on the victim, and his belongings. The witness could not answer any of this.”

The CBI took over the murder investigation from Pune City Police in 2014 and has chargesheeted five accused, all of them allegedly linked to Sanatan Sanstha. The accused include ENT surgeon Dr Virendrasinh Tawade, the two alleged assailants Andure and Kalaskar, Mumbai-based lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar and his aide Vikram Bhave. Of these, Tawade, Andure, and Kalaskar are currently in jail while Punalekar and Bhave are out on bail.

The CBI, in its chargesheet against Tawade in September 2016, named absconding Sanatan Sanstha members Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar as the two assailants who shot Dabholkar dead. But in August 2018, the CBI arrested Andure and Kalaskar and named them as shooters. The agency claimed Kamble identified Andure and Kalaskar from their photographs.

On September 15 last year, the special UAPA court framed charges in the murder case against four of the accused—Tawade, Andure, Kalaskar and Bhave—for murder, conspiracy to commit murder along with Section 16 of the UAPA pertaining to terrorist acts, and various provisions of the Arms Act for the use of firearms. The court charged Punalekar with the destruction of evidence in the case. All five accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The CBI on October 14 last year submitted before the court a list of 32 witnesses to be examined during the trial.

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