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Dabholkar family's questions about activist's murder remain unanswered

A year after Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead, the negligible progress made on the murder case has left his son unsatisfied

On the eve of the death anniversary of the anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, his son, Hamid Dabholkar raised questions about the efficacy of the investigative teams, and the progress they had made on the murder case.

Narendra Dabholkar
Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead by two assailants on a motorcycle on August 20, 2013. File Pic

Exactly a year ago, Dabholkar was shot dead at the Maharshi Shinde bridge in Narayan Peth. However Hamid and his sister, Mukta Dabholkar continue to wait for the culprits behind the murder to be nabbed.

Despite the shooting taking place barely 50 metres from two police chowkies, the police took considerable time to identify and move Dabholkar’s body, and failed to nab his assailants.

Hamid and Mukta raised pertinent questions about the police’s failure to solve the case so far and especially their negligence in the crucial first hour after the killing.

The police claims that it had conducted a ‘nakabandi’ and had set up check points immediately after the shooting. Hamid questioned how it was possible for the culprits to flee from the crime scene and then the city so easily if check points had indeed been set up.

“The Pune police did not conduct any departmental enquiry against the policemen who supposedly were on duty on that morning and had conducted the nakabandi operation. They also did not bother to question people from extremist religious organisations who had published derogatory content about Dr Dabholkar,” Hamid said.

‘Not just another case’
Earlier this year, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the case from the Pune Crime Branch, and began its own investigations. However, Hamid has expressed dissatisfaction with the CBI’s progress so far as well.

“The CBI team has taken up the murder case investigation in June this year but we are not satisfied with the progress made by them. The CBI should not treat this case as just another murder probe. Dr Dabholkar’s murder was an attack on democracy and democratic values and hence investigation into this case should be taken as seriously as any other terror attack,” Hamid told mid-day.

He also expressed hopethat the central agency would not only solve the murder case, but would also reveal who among the police were responsible for letting the killers get away.

“The Pune police did not take any action against the concerned police officers and constables, but now at least the CBI should investigate what exactly happened in the first hour and who was responsible for letting Dr Dabholkar’s killers escape from the city,” he demanded.

He added, “The Pune police had stopped briefing us about the status of investigations from December 2013. They also did not bother to take cognisance of our demands. Apart from the other aspects of investigation into the murder case, the CBI should look into these issues. We have conveyed our feelings and expectations to the CBI officers and hope that they will conduct the probe professionally.”

CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said, “CBI had taken up the investigation of the case in June 2014. It is in the initial stages of the investigation.”

Case Timeline

>> August 20,2013 — Dr Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead
>> January 20, 2014 — Illegal arms dealer Manish Nagori and Vikas Khandelwal arrested for supplying the murder weapon
>> May 2014 — Bombay High Court transfers the Dabholkar murder investigation to the CBI

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