Sanatan Sanstha activist Virendra Tawade, arrested by the CBI in connection with the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, is to be questioned about the gunning down of leftist Govind Pansare too.
The two murders and that of Kannada writer MM Kalburgi are suspected to be the work of elements opposed to their rationalist campaign against superstition.
The special investigation team (SIT) of the Kolhapur police has got the court’s permission to take Tawade, a doctor, into custody. The Pune Judicial Magistrate First Class VB Gulave Patil on Monday issued orders asking the Yerawada jail superintendent to allow the SIT to take Tawade into custody.
Earlier, the court had rejected the CBI’s plea for four days custody and remanded Tawade to 14 days in judicial custody in the Dabholkar murder case. The SIT then submitted an application for his custody. The SIT officials said they would take Tawade into custody “very soon” after several links between the murders of Dabholkar and Pansare emerged.
Both SIT and CBI officials have maintained that the killers of Dabholkar and Pansare could be same. The interrogation of Tawade has led investigators to believe that Sanatan activists Sarang Akolkar and Rudra Patil were involved in executing the killing of Dabholkar and Pansare. The Sanstha has consistently denied any role in the murders and accused the authorities of maligning the organisation.
The SIT officials had arrested Sanatan activist Sameer Gaikwad in connection with Pansare’s murder. The CBI has asked Scotland Yard to confirm if the same gun was used to shoot dead Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi. The state forensic laboratory had confirmed that the bullets that killed Dabholkar and Kalburgi were of the same calibre.