Dabholkar murder case: Accused retract charges against ATS chief, but lawyer demands probe

Jan 29, 2014, 07:34 IST | Salil Urunkar

Manish Nagori and Vikas Khandelwal, arrested in connection with the murder of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, yesterday withdrew their previous statement that anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria had offered them Rs 25 lakh to own up to the crime

MiD DAY had reported the matter on January 22 (‘ATS chief offered us Rs 25 lakh to confess’). On the other hand, their lawyer raised questions about the claims of ‘progress’ in the investigations, and asked why the allegations against Maria were not being probed.

Nagori and Khandelwal were produced in the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) AB Shaikh after their police custody ended yesterday. Their custody was extended till February 4 by the court based on the prosecution’s claims in the ‘case diary’ tendered before the magistrate.

When the court asked Nagori and Khandelwal about any complaints regarding ill-treatment meted out by police, the duo answered in the negative. The magistrate then asked them why they had made allegations against the ATS, which should have been done in a court with adequate jurisdiction. At this time, Nagori claimed that they had made the charges against Maria in a fit of rage. Hearing Nagori’s reply, the magistrate asked Nagori how or why his mind had undergone such a massive change in seven days.

Public prosecutor Madhav Poul told the court that the investigating officers had got key clues during the custodial interrogation of the accused. “There is considerable progress in the probe. The duo are not cooperating during interrogation, and police are trying their best to get relevant information from them,” he claimed.

On the other hand, defence counsel BA Aloor said the police had cited illogical reasons for obtaining police custody of his clients. “The police have even argued that Dr Dabholkar has been conferred the Padma Shri posthumously, due to which the entire nation’s eyes are on this case. Can this be a reason for police to get custody of the youths?” Aloor contended.

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