THE CENTRAL Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, has attached the testimony of the wife of the alleged assailant, Vinay Pawar, in the chargesheet.
Pawar, a member of the right wing group Sanatan Sanstha, has been shown as one of the two assassins who shot the Pune-based anti-superstition crusader on August 20, 2013. The other assailant has been identified as Sarang Akolkar, another Sanatan Sanstha member, also wanted in the 2009 Goa blast case.
In her statement to CBI, Pawar’s wife identified him through the sketch prepared by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Maharashtra Police that initially probed the case. “The sketch, which was prepared based on statements of eyewitnesses was subsequently shown to Pawar’s wife and she identified it as that of Pawar,” according to the chargesheet.
“When the sketch and the photograph of Pawar were shown to his wife and she was asked to identify if they were of the same person, she replied in affirmation. Subsequently, her statement was recorded, which was attached to the chargesheet,” an official said.
Pawar is a native of Miraj in Sangli district, who completed his studies in Mumbai. A graduate, he became a full-time activist of the Sanstha, working for its ashram in Goa. He went missing in 2010 after being named by Prashant Juvekar, who was arrested in the Goa bomb blast case of 2009.
The agency has also attached statements of six eyewitnesses present at the site when Akolkar and Pawar allegedly pumped bullets into Dabholkar’s body. Based on their accounts, the sketches of the assailants were prepared. One such eyewitness, whose statement is part of the chargesheet, states that he was standing on the right side of Omkareshwar bridge in Pune, while the murder took place on the left side. The eyewitness identified Pawar as one of the assailants riding pillion on the bike.
Dabholkar was murdered by two motorcycle-borne assailants while he was on a morning walk. The case was initially probed by Pune police’s crime branch before being transferred to CBI in May 2014.
In the first week of June this year, CBI teams conducted searches at houses of Dr.Virendra Tawde, an alleged western commander of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), an offshoot of Sanatan Sanstha in Panvel, and Akolkar in Pune. Tawde was arrested on June 10. CBI has said that some documents, cell numbers and email addresses were recovered during the searches. The conspiracy to murder Dabholkar was hatched because of ideological differences between the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), founded by Dabholkar, and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS. an offshoot of Sanatan Sanstha), says the chargesheet.