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Blast accused, right-wing activist under CBI scanner

nation Updated: Jun 02, 2016 08:03 IST

NEW DELHI/PUNE: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday carried out raids on the premises of a blast accused and a right-wing activist in Maharashtra in connection with the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013.

The two suspects, 2009 Goa blast accused Sarang Akolkar alias Kulkarni and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS)’s Dr Virender Singh Tawde, are under CBI’s scanner on the basis of “cyber forensic evidence”, a CBI source said.

The CBI claimed to have found key evidence at Akolkar and Tawde’s Pune and Panve residences respectively during the raids.

“Incriminating material including email addresses and SIM cards were recovered from the accused’s premises. They are now being examined for their evidentiary value,” a CBI spokesperson said.

Akolkar, who was named in the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) chargesheet in the Goa blast, has an Interpol Red Corner Notice pending against him since January 2012. There were 11 accused in the blast case, of which six were acquitted while the others including Akolkar were still absconding. Akolkar was also allegedly associated with rightwing groups Sanatan Sanstha as well as HJS.

Hindustan Times (HT) had on November 14 last year reported that two right-wing activists were on the CBI’s radar in relation to the murder. A CBI source said the agency was examining if the suspects had any role in the crime on the basis of the two mobile numbers that were found to be active in the vicinity of the crime scene when Dabholkar was shot.

The central investigation agency is also looking into Dabholkar family’s allegation that Akolkar bore partial resemblance to the sketch of one the two assailants, who had gunned down the rationalist in Pune.

“We suspect that Sarang Akolkar’s face resembles one of the two sketches of suspects released by the police earlier but the CBI has only acted now. The CBI needs to expedite its probe,” lawyer Abhay Nevagi, who represents Dabholkar’s family, told HT.

Pune police was the first to carry out investigations in Dabholkar’s murder but the Bombay high court handed the case over to the CBI in May 2014 on the basis of a public-interest plea. The CBI is yet to make any arrest in the case.