The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who arrested Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti member Dr Virendra Tawade on Friday, has found that he was in constant touch with Sanatan activists who are suspects in the 2009 Madgaon blast and are evading capture.
The CBI had arrested the 48-year-old in connection with the 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, that was followed by the killings of fellow rationalists, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi.
An ENT specialist associated with the right-wing Samiti, Tawade is likely to be produced in a local court on Saturday as a “co-conspirator in Dabholkar murder”, the CBI said.
The agency’s suspicions regarding Tawade’s involvement grew after they recovered certain documents, mobile numbers, emails and other material in the June 1 raid of his and another Sanatan Sanstha activist, Sarang Akolkar’s residences.
Akolkar, an engineer who resided at Narayan Peth in Pune, became untraceable ever since his name cropped up in the Madgaon blasts in 2009. The National Investigating Agency (NIA) declared him an absconder.
Tawade apparently sent an email to Akolkar as recently as this month, after the searches took place, the CBI said.
There were 11 suspects in the blasts, of which six were acquitted by a Goa court, while others, including Akolkar, remain at large. Two people had died as the explosives ripped through central Goa on October 16, 2009.
An active Sanatan activist, Tawade spent almost eight years in Satara where he was took part in the Ganesh idol immersion movement. Tawade crossed paths with Dabholkar who was campaigning to ban the practice of immersing idols in the river.
Reacting to Tawade’s arrest, which comes three years after the murder, Dabholkar’s son Hamid said, “We have always stated that there is resemblance between Akolkar’s picture and the sketches of Dabholkar murder suspects.”
Dabholkar, prominent anti-superstition crusader was killed on August 20, 2013. He was taking a morning stroll when two bike-borne men in their mid-twenties fired four bullets from behind at close range. The case was handed over to the CBI after the city police failed to make any headway.
Separate investigations into the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi, led to indications that all three had been killed by the same gun. Being probed by different agencies, similarities in the manner of killing cropped up, further strengthening doubts against the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, the prime suspect in all the cases.
In the leftist leader Govind Pansare murder, the Maharashtra police arrested Sameer Gaikwad , another Sanatan Sanstha member.