E-mail had told Tawde to focus on Dabholkar months before his murder: CBI

Pune: Sanatan Sanstha member Virendra Tawde, arrested by the CBI in connection with the 2013 murder of Narendra Dabholkar, had received a direction through an e-mail asking him to "concentrate" on the anti-superstition crusader, around 2-3 months before the latter was shot dead.


Virendra Tawde

In its remand report submitted before a local court seeking extension of Tawde's custody today, the agency stated that it has also identified five more persons, apart from Tawde, who are suspected to have played a direct role in the crime.

The court extended Tawde's custody until June 20. CBI stated that these suspects used code words like 'chocolate', 'sahitya', 'devil' and various others words during their e-mail conversation.

The agency's counsel B P Raju told the court that two to three months before Dabholkar's murder, Tawde had received an email from an unidentified person asking him to "concentrate" on the rationalist.

"Tawde did not respond to the mail, but acted on the direction and executed the murder on August 20, 2013," Raju said.
The agency stated that a witness in the case has identified Sarang Akolkar as one of the assailants on the
basis of the sketches re-issued by CBI.

Dabholkar was shot dead when he was taking a morning walk at Omkareshwar bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013.

Akolkar, also a member of right-wing Sanatan Sanstha, is wanted in connection with the murder.

While seeking Tawde's custody, the CBI told the court that they want to question Vinay Pawar of the Sanstha and one
Agrawal in connection with the crime.

It also told the court that the email conversation has talked about procuring arms from various parts of the country.

"We want to investigate the financial source in the procurement of the arms as the accused and other suspects who
were in touch with each other were talking of forming a 'fauj' of 15,000 armed group during their email interaction," Raju
said.

CBI told the court that Tawde had visited the weapon training workshops in Sangali and Phonda in 2009. It was in 2009 when two Sanstha members had died in explosion of a bomb they were ferrying to Margao in Goa.

CBI is probing the Dabholkar murder case, which was handed over to it in May 2014 by the Bombay High Court. The
NIA is handling the Margao blast case.

Tawde, an ENT surgeon, was arrested from Panvel, Navi Mumbai last week for the murder of the 67-year-old anti-superstition crusader. He is the first accused to be held in the nearly three-year-old case.

Seeking Tawde's further custodial interrogation, Raju told the court that he was cooperating with the agency.

In his order, Judicial Magistrate First Class V B Gulve-Patil stated, "It appears from the record that the investigating machinery has done progress in into investigation, minute technical details are yet to be inquired while the valuable material information would not be gathered from the accused except his custody".

However, Tawde's counsel Sanjeev Punalekar rubbished the claims made by the CBI, saying the agency has got enough
time to interrogate Tawde but "failed" to gather concrete evidence against him.

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