The interrogation of Sanatan Sanstha activist Virendra Tawade, 48, has led the CBI to believe that he masterminded Narendra Dabholkar’s murder while the 2009 Madgaon blast suspects, Sarang Akolkar and Rudra Patil played a major role in the killing of the rationalist.
Dabholkar, a staunch anti-superstition crusader, was killed by two unidentified motorbike-borne youths on August 20, 2013.
The CBI sources, who spoke to Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to the media, said Tawade planned the murder, while the blast suspects most likely executed it.
Tawade, an ENT specialist, was arrested by the CBI on Friday from his Panvel residence, around three years after Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune.
Akolkar and Patil, both Sanatan activists, have been declared absconding by the National Investigation Agency probing the Goa blast.
On October 16, 2009, two Sanatan Sanstha activists were killed while they were allegedly transporting the bomb through Madgaon. A special court in Madgaon acquitted six of the 11 people associated with the Sanstha, citing a lack of evidence. Others, including Akolkar are Patil are still at large.
The CBI official said Tawade and the blast suspects shared a “very close association”, revealed through their email exchanges. Hindustan Times was first to report the email exchanges between Tawade and Akolkar.
CBI officials said that Tawade was in touch with Akolkar over the phone too. On June 1, the CBI had raided the residences of Tawade and Akolkar and recovered documents, mobile numbers and emails.
The emails between the two, scrutinized by the CBI, suggest that the duo, along with others, wanted to set up an “army of 15,000 armed men” to establish “Hindu Rashtra”. According to CBI officials, Akolkar hailed Tawade as his mentor.
The Sanatan Sanstha has denied the involvement of Tawade in Dabholkar’s murder, saying his arrest is a conspiracy to malign the image of the right-wing group.