ENT doctor, a Sanatan member, held in Dabholkar murder case

PUNE: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) made its first arrest in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case late on Friday evening.

The CBI arrested Dr Virendrasinh Tawade (48), an ENT specialist, from Panvel in Navi Mumbai. Tawade is a member of the Sanatan Sanstha as well as the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, CBI sources said. He used to earlier live in Satara.

Dabholkar, a rationalist and prominent anti-superstition crusader, was shot dead by two unidentified suspects on a motorcycle on the Balgandharva bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013.


Tawade has been arrested on charges of conspiracy . He will be produced in the Shivajinagar court here on Saturday.

A CBI officer said, “We have a strong case against him. We have found strong evidence during the search conducted at his residence on June 1 and subsequent questioning.” CBI officials said Tawade was being questioned since June 1. The CBI had, the same day, also conducted a search at the Pune residence of another Sanatan Sanstha member Sarang Akolkar, who is on the run ever since his name surfaced in the 2009 Goa bomb blast case. Another CBI officer said, “We have crucial evidence of email communication between Tawade and Akolkar.”

Hamid Dabholkar, son of the slain crusader, said, “The arrest is a very important development, but it has come very late. I now think the investigations are moving in the right direction. The CBI should go to the root of the murder and dig up the nexus between right-wing organisations and the killers.”

Despite several attempts, calls made by TOI to the Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson went unanswered.

Dabholkar was shot at from close range during his morning walk and died on the spot. The assailants fired five rounds at him around 7am. Three bullets hit Dabholkar, one of them in the forehead and the other two in the chest.

The assailants had brazenly parked their motorcycle outside the Shaniwar Peth police post, barely 30ft from the crime spot.They fled towards Ramanbaug in the Narayan Peth area, driving through check posts near Omkareshwar temple. An eyewitness who saw the as sailants from the balcony of his flat nearby had noted down the registration number of the motorcycle, the police said. The eyewitness had also told the police that the killers were aged between 25 and 30. He had also described the clothes that the assailants were wearing.

The investigations, which were initially conducted by the Pune police, were later handed over to the CBI.

After practising for 12 years as a doctor, Dabholkar had joined activist Baba Adhav’s `One Village, One Well’ movement before founding the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti. He edited the Marathi weekly ‘Sadhana’.

ENT doctor, a Sanatan member, held in Dabholkar murder case

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