Six years after the murder of Pune-based RTI activist, who was murdered by unidentified assailaints, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on late Wednesday evening arrested Retired Police Inspector Bhausaheb Andhalkar - who was the investigating officer in the case originally.
After the case was handed over to the CBI, 26 cops, including Andhalkar, were under scrutiny as suspects in the murder case. Andhalkar, the then Crime Branch police inspector, was investigating the case.
Shetty, an RTI activist from Talegaon Dabhade, was standing at a newspaper stall after his morning walk on January 13, 2010, when unknown assailants stabbed him on his head, hands and neck.
Shetty was the Pune district coordinator of the Bhrastachar Virodhi Dakshata Samiti, an organisation fighting corruption.
Shetty had exposed an alleged land scam along the Pune-Mumbai highway, one of several cases of corruption he had exposed through RTI applications.
Based on Shetty's findings and complaint, a criminal offence in the land scam was lodged with police against the chairman and managing director of IRB Infrastructure Co, Virendra Mhaiskar, and 12 others, including some government officials on October 15, 2009.
In February last year, the CBI had relaunched the probe into the murder, months after it had filed a closure report after stating that it found no "prosecutable evidence".
Confirming the arrest, CBI spokeperson said, “Andalkar has been arrested in the on-going investigation of a case related to murder of RTI activisit Shetty. Initially, the case of murder was registered by Talegoan Dhabhade police station which falls under the jurisdiction of Pune rural police and later the case was handover to CBI on request of Maharashtra Government."
According to CBI sources, “The arrested police officer Andalkar was in-charge of local crime branch and was investigating the case. Some critical link to crime has been found during his polygraph test and the some material was recovered from the computer hard disk from Andalkar’s office. Shetty use to work on RTIs and prior to his murder he was looking to file an RTI and gaining information about ration card misappropriation. We have not only scrutinized the call records, but also the bank transaction in those particular years and we found a huge financial transaction have took place in many police officers' account, including the arrested police officer. In 2013, a team from Mumbai's CBI raided 11 locations in Pune as a part of the ongoing investigations in the case. The raided places belonged to people who have undergone polygraph tests in the case, earlier this year. The CBI conducted polygraph test on 16 people."
RTI activist Satish Shetty had filed a complaint in October 2009, alleging that officials from the company, IRB, were illegally grabbing government and private land in Maval taluka. Following the complaint, Shetty allegedly received threats from a company official. His appeal for police protection was denied, after which Shetty was stabbed to death on January 13, 2010.
The closure report revelations
>> Several phone calls had been exchanged between the original investigating officer in the murder case — retired Police Inspector Bhausaheb Andhalkar and the accused IRB company officials
>> A bloodstained sickle had been found at Andhalkar’s house during search operations. However, the blood group tests were inconclusive
>> Several accused gave deceptive responses during the polygraph tests