Three years after rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead by assailants in Pune, CBI has made its first arrest in the case. CBI arrested Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendrasing Tawde in connection with the murder.
Tawde, who was arrested on Friday evening from Panvel near Mumbai, will be produced before a special court in Pune this afternoon.
“CBI has arrested Virendra Singh Tawde in an ongoing investigation of a case related to murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar…He will be produced today around 3 PM in designated court, Pune. Investigation is continuing,” CBI Spokesperson Devpreet Singh said.
Hindu Janajagruti Samiti is said to be linked to Goa-based radical Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha, which had come under the scanner for the murder of another rationalist Govind Pansare in February 2015.
Dabholkar was shot dead in broad daylight in Pune on August 20, 2013. In May 2014, the Mumbai High court handed over the probe to the CBI. And this is the first arrest in the case after the probe was handed over to the CBI.
According to CBI sources, the agency had recovered some material during its earlier searches in connection with the murder case which brought the needle of suspicion on Tawde, believed to be an ENT surgeon and an alleged follower of ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ activist Sarang Akolkar.
34-year-old Akolkar is suspected to be one of the key conspirators in the murder of Dabholkar. He has been on the run ever since his name cropped up during NIA investigations in the Goa blast case. A Red Corner Notice was also issued against him by Interpol in July 2012 in the Goa blast case on NIA request.
In the past the CBI had also searched the residences of Tawde and Akolkar. Sources say, the agency found some “cyber forensic evidence” about their alleged role in Dabholkar’s murder.
The killings of Dabhokar and Pansare had sparked an outrage in the country with several eminent writers and other personalities returning their awards over “rising intolerance”.
(With inputs from PTI)