The CBI got custody of ENT surgeon Virendra Tawade for four more days till June 20 after the prosecution told a Pune court that he was not cooperating with the investigation into the August 20, 2013, gunning down of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
Tawade, who is connected to the ultra-right-wing Sanathan Sanstha, was arrested on June 10 from Panvel and CBI counsel BP Raju told the court that he needed to be questioned in custody to trace other suspects.
Raju said the investigators want to trace the source of finances that were used by those who murdered Dabholkar.
Opposing the CBI plea, defence counsel Sanjeev Punalekar said it had already interrogated Tawade but had not been able to get any evidence. “Despite the fact that CBI has got enough time to interrogate our client, the probe agency has not been able to get any proof,” said Punalekar.
Tawade, an ENT specialist, was arrested on Friday, three years after Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune by two unidentified youngsters while he was out on his morning walk.
Judicial Magistrate First Class VB Gulave Patil extended custody saying, “It appears from the record that the investigating machinery has done progress in the probe.”
The CBI suspects Tawade could be the brain behind the conspiracy to murder Dabholkar and leftist Govind Pansare, who was gunned down in Kolhapur in February 2015. The investigators suspect Tawade hired a house in Kolhapur for 10 days to monitor Pansare’s movements before he was murdered.
Investigators suspect Tawade and another Sanathan Sanstha activist Sarang Akolkar wanted to eliminate Dabholkar in 2009 itself, but they dropped the plan after the Margao bomb blast the same year brought the right-wing outfit under the scanner. The Sanstha has always denied any involvement in these incidents.
The Sanstha has denied any role in Dabholkar’s murder and termed Tawde’s arrest “mysterious”.