Cops fail to make headway, to focus on quacks, babas

Sep 04, 2013, 05:25 IST | Sandip Kolhatkar

With no breakthroughs in the probe two weeks after anti-superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar was gunned down by a couple of unidentified men on the busy Omkareshwar Bridge, investigators have now shifted their focus from right wing organisations to quacks and babas whom the deceased had targeted in his movement

In October 2012, Khadak police had arrested an astro-palmist, identified as Sumant Mrigank Mukherjee (53) of Guru Nanaknagar, for allegedly duping a 29-year-old woman of Rs 53,000 by promising to give her ‘rudrakshas’ that would solve her problems. Mukherjee was arrested under sections 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act.

It’s noteworthy that Dabholkar had held a press conference and sought strict action against the offender. “We have not ruled out any possibility, organisation, or individual. We are now investigating some babas and quacks against whom Dr Dabholkar and his Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) had protested,” said Shahaji Solunke, additional commissioner of police (crime).

The officer added that more than 20 teams have been pressed into the investigation and have been assigned distinct tasks. “We have also written to the police units from other districts in the state to furnish information about the exposes by Dabholkar and his organisation, and have also sought details of cases registered at the behest of the anti-superstition crusader,” he said.

Solunke clarified that the ballistics report is expected in a couple of days, and after that it would be clear what kind of weapons were used in the shooting.
He said that the bullets and the cartridges that were recovered from the scene were of 7.65 mm calibre, commonly used by criminals. “We have even sought CCTV footages from the toll plazas at the cities exit and entry points, and squads have been assigned to verify the footages,” he said. Meanwhile, the additional CP said that cops have been receiving numerous calls regarding the sketch of the second suspect released on Monday, and each and every input is being verified. 

It is very disappointing that even after two weeks police has not been able to trace the attackers or the mastermind. Law and order situation across the state has deteriorated and it is demoralising people who want to do something for society. Still we have faith in Maharashtra police, and till now we have not demanded a probe by CBI or any other agency.
-- Mukta Dabholkar, daughter of Dr Narendra Dabholkar

Before firing bullets if the attackers had just interacted with Dr Dabholkar, they would have definitely changed their mind after being inspired by his rational approach towards society. Unfortunately, two weeks have passed since the incident and still police are unable to find the killers. This is just not acceptable.
-- Vinod Shirsat, executive editor of Sadhana Weekly

I just can’t understand how the murderers are free after such a heinous crime. MANS activists across the state are taking Dr Dabholkar’s work forward and in any case the movement against superstition started by him will continue, no matter what resistance we face from anti-social elements.
-- Avinash Patil, executive chairman of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti

The investigation of the case is just not an emotional issue, but the snail’s pace at which the probe is progressing sends a wrong message and boosts the morale of criminals. Ideally, it is expected that police get concrete evidence in initial days after an incident.
-- Subhash Vare, social activist 

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