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Dabholkar murder: Rightwing activist’s CBI custody extended

Pune (Maharashtra) : A city court on Thursday extended the CBI custody of surgeon and right-wing activist Virendra S. Tawde, the prime accused in the Narendra Dabholkar murder, till June 20.

Tawde was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation from Panvel (Raigad district) last week in connection with the killing of rationalist Dabholkar in Pune on August 20, 2013.

Seeking extension of his custody, CBI lawyer B.P. Raju informed Judicial Magistrate V.B. Gulve-Patil that the accused was not cooperating in the investigation and his further custodial interrogation was necessary.

Tawde, an ENT surgeon, is an activist of the Sanatan Sanstha and is the first accused to be nabbed in the Dabholkar murder case.

The investigators are understood to have gathered evidence that Tawde and his Sanatan Sanstha accomplice, Saran Akolkar — now absconding — wanted to finish off Dabholkar in 2009, but abandoned the plans in the wake of the Goa terror blast.

However, Tawde, who is considered the mastermind behind the killing, carried on the plans with Akolkar until it was successfully executed four years later by eliminating Dabholkar.

The 67-year-old Dabholkar, a leading anti-superstitions and anti-black magic activist, was shot dead by two unidentified motorcycle borne assailants at point blank range near the Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune on the morning of August 20, 2013.

After the local police failed to make any headway in the investigations, the Bombay High Court handed over the case to the CBI in May 2014.

Besides the Dabholkar murder, the Sanatan Sanstha has been under the scanner for the killings of veteran Communist Govind Pansare and rationalist M.M. Kalburgi.

However, the Sanstha has strongly denied involvement in these cases and said it was the target of a witchunt.