Six months before he was gunned down, Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar was aware that his cousin, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Padmasinh Patil, had hired contract killers to eliminate him, Nimbalkar’s wife Anandibai has claimed in her statement to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The statement is part of the charge sheet in the Nimbalkar murder case filed in the Panvel magistrate’s court on August 20. Hindustan Times has access to the charge sheet.
Anandibai Nimbalkar has said information on the ‘supari’ was revealed to Pawanraje by one of the persons hired by Patil to bump him off. She claimed the ‘contract killer’ told Nimbalkar that he could not even think of eliminating him but would kill Patil if Nimbalkar wanted it.
Nimbalkar, however, turned down the offer, saying he could not see his sister-in-law becoming a widow, she stated.
Before his murder in June 2006, Nimbalkar had asked for police protection in writing.
In her statement, Anandibai said that she, her husband and one more person (a witness in the case) had gone to Tirupati in 2005 and stayed in Kurnool. There, on December 16, 2005, Nimbalkar told her about the hired killer who had come to meet him and revealed what he had said, she claimed.
She told the CBI that this was the reason she suspected Patil was behind her husband’s murder. Advocate Dinesh Tiwari, appearing for Latur businessman Satish Mandade and corporator Mohan Shukl – two of the accused in the case – however told HT that Anandibai’s statement was mere hearsay if it was not supported by corroborative evidence.
CBI special public prosecutor Ejaz Khan refused to comment.
Patil was arrested on June 6 by the CBI for his alleged role in the murder of Pawanraje Nimbalkar and his driver Samad Kazi. They were shot dead at Kalamboli near Navi Mumbai on June 3, 2006.
The other arrested accused are Mandade, Shukl, Parasmal Jain, Bahujan Samaj Party worker Kailash Yadav and the alleged shooters Dinesh Tiwari and Pintu Singh. Two accused, Chotu Pande and state excise inspector Sashikant Kulkarni, are absconding. The chargesheet names Patil as prime accused. Patil and other accused have been booked for murder, criminal conspiracy and under provisions of the Arms Act.