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State CID to seek custody of Dabholkar murder accused Tawde

Virendra Tawde

Mumbai : Maharashtra CID would seek custody of Virendra Tawde, alleged member of right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha who has been arrested in rationalist Narendra Dabholkar murder case, to ascertain if there was a conspiracy linking the killings of activist Govind Pansare and Dabholkar, the probe agency informed the Bombay High Court today.

Government pleader Sandeep Shinde, appearing for the state CID, told HC that the agency would seek Tawde’s custody to establish the link, if any, among the Dabholkar, Pansare and scholar M M Kalburgi murder cases.

Another right wing activist Sameer Gaikwad had earlier been arrested in the Pansare murder case.

Justice Sadhana Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by the CID challenging a May 2016 order of a sessions court refusing to stay the trial against Gaikwad.

The CID then approached the high court seeking to stay the trial till a forensic report from Scotland Yard police was obtained. The impending report pertains to a bullet and some cartridges recovered in the Pansare murder case that were sent by CBI, which is probing the Dabholkar case, to the UK for forensic tests last month.

The forensic reports would ascertain if there was any link between the Pansare, Dabholkar and Kalburgi murder cases.

The high court had in June this year granted interim stay on the trial against Gaikwad.

“Apart from the forensic report, the CID will soon take custody of the arrested accused (Tawde) in the Dabholkar murder case to establish conspiracy angle and to ascertain the link between the three murders,” Shinde said, adding that the CID would amend its petition to include this point.

Gaikwad’s advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, however, dismissed these arguments and said till date there is nothing on record to show any link between the murders.

“There is no commitment from the CID or CBI as to by when they will procure the forensic report from Scotland Yard police. Why should the trial be stayed on grounds of likelihood? There are atleast 40 witnesses who have nothing to do with the bullets or cartridges seized from the crime scene (Pansare murder). Their evidence can be recorded,” he said.

The court posted the petition for hearing on August 11, and said the interim stay on the trial shall continue till then.

While Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He died on February 20. Prof Kalburgi was murdered on August 30 last year.

The killings sparked massive outrage in the country, with authors amd artists returning their awards over alleged “rising intolerance”.

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