A section of CBI’s supplementary chargesheet in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case, which has been cited in a submission by the rationalist’s family members to various investigating agencies, describes the hours leading up to the murder on August 20, 2013 as per the agency’s theory. It also describes the recce done by the accused 15 days before the murder.
The CBI had in February filed the supplementary chargesheet in the case against the two alleged shooters — Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar. This was the second chargesheet filed by the agency in the case after the September 2016 chargesheet against ENT surgeon and Sanatan Sanstha member Virendra Tawade.
On April 11, the family members of Dabholkar and slain Communist leader Govind Pansare (murdered in February 2015) had submitted an application to the Home Secretary of Maharashtra, Joint Director of the CBI, chief of Maharashtra state Criminal Investigation Department, Kolhapur police and the investigation officer of Dabholkar case. In the application, the family members have drawn the attention of these agencies towards the statements given by Kalaskar to the Karnataka Police during the investigation of the murder of Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh in September 2017 and also parts of CBI’s own chargesheet.
The application sought further probe by the agencies to find out if any more people, other than those arrested till then, were involved in the series of murders, which according to agencies, are closely linked to each other.
It needs to be pointed out that Kalaskar’s statement to the Karnataka Police, which his defence lawyers have claimed to have been retracted later, has become the basis of the arrest of lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar and his aide Vikram Bhave by the CBI on Saturday in the Dabholkar murder case.
The CBI has already arrested Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, both from Aurangabad, who according to the agency, are the two shooters who fired three rounds at Dabholkar on the morning of August 20, 2013.
The application cites a report by the CBI officials which is also a part of the supplementary chargesheet. The report talks about Kalaskar’s probe by the CBI. It states: “Sharad Kalaskar pointed out before independent witnesses that as per the plan by Dr Virendra Tawade and Amol Kale, he along with Sachin Andure had travelled together by bus from Aurangabad and reached Shivaji Nagar bus stop, Pune, on August 20, 2013 around 4.30 am. He along with Sachin Andure waited for the day break and thereafter at around 6.45 am they walked towards Omkareshwar Bridge,via Jangli Maharaj Road and reached near Amol Super Market, where the motorcycle (Hero Honda Splendor, black colour) as per prearranged instructions from Amol Kole and another member was kept. Sachin Andure identified the motorcycle from the plastic number plate which was bigger in size and stuck with Velcro tape. Andure inserted the duplicate key which was given to him on his earlier visit to Pune.”
The report further states: “Kalaskar also informed in presence of independent witnesses that he and Sachin Andure had come to Pune around 15 days prior to killing of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, for recce purpose. Vikram Bhave of Sanatan Sanstha/Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (convicted in a blast case) had helped in the recce. Vikram Bhave drove the motorcycle and Kalaskar and Andure pillion rode the motorcycle. On the motorcycle, Vikram Bhave showed them the way from Shivaji Nagar Bus Depot to the place where the motorcycle was to be picked, then from that place to Omkareshwar Bridge, residence of Dr Dabholkar, escape route from Omkareshwar Bridge and the place for parking/abandoning the motorcycle and firearms after escaping from the place of murder.”
The Indian Express has reported in the past about the contradiction in the claims of the CBI made in 2016 and those after the arrests in 2018. In the chargesheet filed by the CBI against Tawade in September 2016, the agency had given details of alleged email conversations between Tawade and Sarang Akolkar, another member of Sanatan Sanstha, who is wanted in the Madgaon bomb blast case of 2009. In the said chargesheet, the CBI had named Akolkar and one Vinay Pawar as the two suspected shooters of Dabholkar. The contradiction between the two claims of the CBI is now being used as a defence by the lawyers of Andure and Kalaskar, who have completely denied the agency’s theory.