Dabholkar murder case: Sanatan Sanstha member Virendra Tawde sent to 16 days CBI custody

New Delhi: Having been arrested for his alleged role in the murder of Pune-based rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Dr Virendra Tawde was on Saturday sent to a CBI custody till June 16.

 

Tawde, a member of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which has links to Goa-based radical Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested late last night from Panvel and was produced before a special court in Pune on Saturday afternoon.

 

The arrest came nine days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches at the residence of Tawde, who works as a medical officer for the Sanstha, and questioned him at the outfit's ashram in Panvel.

 

It is the first arrest in the case after the Mumbai High court in May 2014 handed over the probe to the CBI in the fatal shooting of Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist, in broad daylight on August 20, 2013.

 

The killings had sparked outrage in the country with several eminent writers and other personalities returning their awards over “rising intolerance”.

 

The agency had recovered some material during its earlier searches in connection with the murder case which brought the needle of suspicion on Tawde, believed to be an ENT surgeon and an alleged follower of ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ activist Sarang Akolkar, against whom Red Corner Notice was issued by Interpol in July 2012 in connection with the 2009 Goa blast case on NIA request, CBI sources said.

 

The sources said CBI had questioned him, in different sessions, since June 2 when his residence was searched.

 

The residences of Tawde and Akolkar were searched by the agency which recovered several SIM cards, cell phones and data from computer, they said.

 

They said the two were investigated after the agency found some “cyber forensic evidence” about their alleged role in the murder case of Dabholkar.

34-year-old Akolkar is suspected to be one of the key conspirators in the murder of Dabholkar. He has been on the run ever since his name cropped up during NIA investigations in the Goa blast case.

 

NIA had secured an Interpol Red Corner Notice against him in 2012 but security agencies are yet to track him down.

 

With agency inputs