The phone call records of Dr Virendra Tawde have revealed that his alleged links with acts of terror pre-date the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in August 2013. The CBI has found that 25 phone calls were exchanged between him and Sarang Akolkar, a member of Sanatan Sanstha who is the prime accused in the 2009 Goa blast, on the day of the blasts.
Dr Virendra Tawde and Sarang Akolkar (below) were in constant touch on the day of the Margao blast on October 16, 2009
“He exchanged 25-odd phone calls with Akolkar on the day of the blast. These calls were made before and after the explosion,” said a CBI officer involved with the Dabholkar killing probe.
On October 16, 2009, two members of Sanatan Sanstha — Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik — were killed after a bomb they were carrying on a scooter prematurely went off in Margao, Goa.
The CBI has also found that Patil and Tawde had made several calls to each other. Patil’s last phone call before the bomb went off was to the ENT surgeon.
The findings are from a basic analysis of Tawde’s call records.
Akolkar is also a prime suspect in the Dabholkar case and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has procured an Interpol red corner notice against him in the blast case. The NIA had arrested six Sanatan members in the blast case. But, a special court at Mapusa, Goa, acquitted all of them in December 2013. The NIA had moved the High Court against the acquittal.
Despite having Akolkar on their radar since the blast and having tracked down his number through one of the Sanstha members who were arrested, it’s curious why it didn’t occur to the NIA to track down the man with whom Akolkar had exchanged 25 calls on that fateful day.
CBI officials have found that two months prior to Dabholkar’s killing, Tawde met Akolkar in Kolhapur. Other Sanstha members were also allegedly present at this meeting. The meeting discussed conducting a reconnaissance of the ‘target’ and procuring ammunition, said the CBI official.
Code name for bullets
In the emails Tawde exchanged with Akolkar and other Sanstha members, he referred to bullets as ‘chocolates’ to hoodwink law enforcement agencies. He asked a former Sanstha member to procure ‘chocolates’ from Belgaum, which the latter refused. This former member tipped off many police officers of the alleged involvement of Tawde in Dabholkar’s assassination and has been made a key witness by the CBI in the case. The officials have got his confessional statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC. Bullets marked ‘KF’ (Khadki factory), referring to an ordnance manufacturing unit in Khadki, were recovered from the site where Dabholkar was gunned down. A similar make of bullets were recovered from the murder spots of CPI leader Govind Pansare and scholar MM Kalburgi.
Sanstha lauded death
Two days after Dabholkar’s killing on August 20, 2013, the Sanstha’s mouthpiece — Sanatan Prabhat — published an article appreciating the death, saying it was better than dying of illness in old age.