Narendra Dabholkar murder: 'Tawde's two-wheeler used to carry out recce of crime scene'

While surgeon claims he sold the vehicle to a scrap dealer in 2013, sleuths have found that he rode it from Panvel to Pune the same year

CBI officials probing the murder of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar have learnt that Dr Virendra Tawde rode the two-wheeler, which was allegedly used to carry out a recce by main absconding accused Sarang Akolkar and another sadhak from Sanatan Sanstha prior to the shooting, from Panvel to Pune in January 2013.

Investigators suspect that Virendra Tawde’s two-wheeler was also used in the murder of CPI leader Govind Pansare
Investigators suspect that Virendra Tawde’s two-wheeler was also used in the murder of CPI leader Govind Pansare

They suspect that the vehicle was also used in CPI leader Govind Pansare’s killing.

Sources say when Tawde was questioned by the CBI about what he did with his two-wheeler, he claimed that he had sold it to a scrap dealer in Pune in 2013.

CBI sleuths did not buy this and countered him by questioning why he needed to sell a two-wheeler to a scrap dealer when the vehicle could run from Panvel to Pune and was in a good condition. Dr Tawde did not give satisfactory answers to the CBI on this.

To access documents pertaining to his two-wheeler, a team of CBI officials on Tuesday searched the house in Kalpataru Society in Panvel of Tawde’s wife, Dr Nidhi, with whom he used to live before 2014. During the search, the CBI did not find the RC book of the vehicle or any other document pertaining to it, but seized around 17 documents pertaining to Tawde and his activities. This included his passport. Investigators also seized some CDs of video recordings of some of the Sanstha’s programmes conducted by Tawde. Nidhi had also attended some of the programmes.

The CBI will go through the video recordings of the Sanstha’s functions to find out if Tawde was with any wanted accused, including Akolkar, at any of the events.

This will help the CBI gather more circumstantial evidence to ascertain his association with the accused.

Tawde was arrested in the Dabholkar case on June 10 and was sent to judicial custody on Monday.

Wife questioned
On Tuesday, CBI officials questioned Dr Nidhi Tawde, wife of ENT surgeon Dr Virendra Tawde. Dr Nidhi, who is also a surgeon, returned from England to Mumbai with her 13-year-old daughter from a holiday. She arrived at the CBI’s CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai, office, along with her mother, at 11.30 am. She was questioned till 1.30 pm.

Sources say the investigators learnt that after Tawde was brainwashed by the Sanstha, Nishi struggled to support herself and her daughter. She told the CBI that Tawde distanced himself from the family and did not meet them for long periods. Whenever he came over to see her and their daughter, the meeting did not last over 10 minutes. In 2014, she moved out to live separately with her daughter, who is in Std VIII.

“We called her for informing her the reasons why her husband was arrested. We also wanted to know what had prompted her to take the decision of living separately from Tawde,” said a senior CBI official. Officials said they also wanted certain documents belonging to Tawde from her.

The CBI has recorded a preliminary statement of Nidhi and will record more statements, if required, in future.

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