Right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha on Friday revealed the identity of the witness in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, claiming he is a “corrupt person, who has been bought to defame their organisation”.
The key witness, a Kolhapur resident, allegedly unearthed the role of Dr Virendra Tawade in the murder, leading to his arrest this week. “We have exposed the involvement of the witness in misappropriation of silver jewellery in the Mahalaxmi temple in Kolhapur. He was afraid he will be put behind bars, so he started targeting us. The CBI has used him to cook up a story,” said advocate Sanjiv Punalekar, who represents the organisation.
The witness has claimed he tried to alert the police about Dabholkar’s killers for three years, but no action was taken. “The witness is a known personality in Kolhapur and has met many politicians. How is it possible that he approached only certain police officers and not higher-ups? The CBI has scanned around 800 Sanatan members in the investigation. How and why did they ignore his input,” asked Punalekar, terming the witness a “history-sheeter”. “The witness should be given police protection as we are afraid we will be blamed if something happens to him.”
CBI sources said Tawade had planned the murder, while it was executed by other accused -- Sarang Akolkar and Rudra Patil. The duo is on the run. The agency said the trio exchanged emails. “The e-mails are from an unknown person, who the CBI thought was Akolkar,” said Punalekar.
The sanstha said during Tawade’s stay in Kolhapur, he may have met the witness, which the CBI has used to its advantage. “The witness was also involved in threatening another sanstha member, who lodged a complaint with the police in 2014,” said Punalekar.
Abhay Vartak, spokesperson of the organization, demanded “a narco test be conducted against the witness and an investigation be done to ascertain how much money he has been paid”.