The swiftness with which Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s killers carried out his murder has made the investigators believe that it could be a job of professionals, who tracked their “target” for an hour before shooting him down.
Investigating official Rajendra Bhamre, assistant commissioner of police, told reporters in Pune that the assailants were after Dabholkar from 6:15 am, almost an hour before he was killed at Omkareshwar bridge.
“From the accounts of eye witnesses and CCTV footage, it can be said that attackers were tracking him from 6:15 onwards. They were loitering in the vicinity of Omkareshwar temple, the area where Dabholkar was shot dead, for an hour,” said Bhamre.
Bhamare further added, “Two more witnesses have come forward in the case.” Earlier a senior citizen couple had told the police that they saw two bike borne youths in their mid-20s came from behind, parked their vehicle and fired four bullets in which two hit the crusader from rear.
One of them wearing a rainy cap and another carrying a backpack fired at Dabholkar, 68, from 7.65 mm pistol. However the hazy footage from various CCTV cameras have made the police’s task difficult to identify the face of assailants, said Bhamre.
A senior probe official hinted that considering the swiftness with which Dabholkar was killed, it could be a case of contract killing. The investigators also suspect that the killers are outsiders and therefore, three search teams have been dispatched across Maharashtra.
“Among the eight teams formed to investigate the case, three teams have been sent across Maharashtra while fourth team is in Satara which is a native place of Dabholkar,” Bhmare said. A five member team of the Mumbai crime branch, Unit – 8, has also arrived in the city to assist the Pune police crime branch.
The police have so far questioned owners of 45 bikes, whose registration number resembles with the one given by eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses were able to see only a partial registration number (last four digits) of the black splendor on which the attackers came.
According to sources, after initial probe and questioning of usual suspects, the police are also looking at some “tantriks” who may have been exposed by Dabholkar in the past as suspects.
The anti-superstition crusader had in the past exposed many self proclaimed godmen who hoodwinked unsuspecting people.