Cops close in on Dabholkar killers, with arrest of 2 aides

Jan 21, 2014, 13:24 IST | Salil Urunkar

Five months after the anti-superstition crusader was gunned down on Omkareshwar Bridge, the Pune police, amid a wave of protests, has taken custody of two youths lodged in Thane Jail

Even as Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s family fronted protests demanding a new and more competent police team that can nail the murderers of the anti-superstition campaigner, the Pune Police yesterday claimed to have reached a breakthroughin the case.

On Monday evening, cops arrested illegal arms dealer Rajubhai alias Manish Ramvilas Nagori (24) and his associate Vikas Ramavatar Khandelwal (22) in connection with the Dabholkar murder case. The police believe that Nagori provided theweapons to the killers who gunned down Dabholkar on the afternoon of August 20, on Omkareshwar Bridge in ShaniwarPeth.

Protesters, including Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s daughter Mukta (second from left) and son Hameed (third from left), demand a swift probe
Protesters, including Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s daughter Mukta (second from left) and son Hameed (third from left), demand a swift probe Pic/Krunal Gosavi

The two, who were lodged in Thane jail in an extortion case, were transferred to the custody of the Pune police last evening, after an application was submitted in the court by the police in this regard.

Nagori, a native of Ichalkaranji in Kolhapur, had also been arrested by the Pune Crime Branch earlier along with four of his associates, in the murder case of Prahlad Jogdandkar (54). Jogdandkar was a security guard at the University of Pune, who was killed on the night of May 3, 2012.

Nagori’s gang was first picked up by the Thane police on August 20 at around 4 pm, the day Dabholkar was murdered at the bridge near Omkareshwar temple. Subsequently, the state Anti-Terrorism Squad and the Pune Crime Branch also took the four in custody to interrogate them about the murder.

Investigations at the time had revealed that Nagori was using 13 SIM cards of different telecom companies and had sold 47 firearms to various criminals in the state. A team of CrimeBranch sleuths had gone to Satara, Kolhapur, Karhad and Hatkanangale to investigate Nagori’s arms dealings.

Narendra Dabholkar murder accused
Manish Nagori, one of the arrested persons in police custody

After his first arrest, Nagori was taken into custodial interrogation in four different cases by the police agencies. A total of 14 criminals in the police records, who are known to have used firearms in various crimes, were interrogated after their names were revealed during the custodial interrogations of Nagori and his associates.

Police had also questioned nine persons who were using the SIM cards earlier used by Nagori, police sources said. Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajendra Bhamare said, “Nagori and Khandelwal have been taken into custody from Thane jail. They have been booked under the charges of criminal conspiracy (section 120-B) and on the basis of the ballistics report.”

The arrested accused

Manish Ramvilas Nagori (24, in picture) is a cloth trader. According to police records, he stays at flat number 45 at Priyadarshini Colony in Ichalkaranji in Kolhapur. Nagori is originally from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He was arrested by the Thane Crime Branch in an extortion case on August 20, 2013. He also has another offence registered against him. Vicky alias Vikas Khandelwal (22) is a driver and a resident of Sangram Chowk in Ichalkaranji, Kolhapur. He is Nagori’s aide, cops said. He also has a criminal record.

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