Dabholkar murder: Tawade scoured for arms, cartridges before murder

The Asian Age.  | Abhishek Sharan

Metros, Mumbai

He had begun looking for a unit to produce country-made firearms.

Virendra Tawade

Mumbai: Dr Virendra Tawade, who was the first accused arrested in the August 2013 Narendra Dabholkar murder case by the CBI in June 2016, had allegedly begun scouring for weapons and cartridges at Kolhapur in April 2013, around four months before the incident, as per the probe’s findings. CBI described him as the key conspirator in Pune court, on Sunday. The CBI suspects that the deceased came under the scanner of the conspirators due to the Andhshraddha Nirmulan Bill-2005 that Dabholkar had been pushing for.

According to CBI’s probe, Tawade had begun looking for ‘chocolates’ — a code word for cartridges — and a unit to manufacture country-made firearms in Kolhapur, along with two other men. A Kolhapur-based man, who was allegedly contacted several times by Tawade and the other two suspects for the cartridges and firearms, subsequently deposed against the three men in his witness statement, said a CBI source. Dabholkar was shot dead five years ago, on August 20, 2013, by two bike-borne assailants in Pune, when he was on a morning walk, at around 7.25 am on the footpath of Omkareshwar bridge.

A range of forensic psychological and behavioural tests was conducted by the CBI, after Tawade’s arrest, in which he had denied any role in the Dabholkar case. The tests had suggested that Tawade could be allegedly “hiding” information. The tests conducted on Tawade included forensic psychological assessment, behavioural analysis interview and forensic statement analysis, which were based on his in-depth oral and written responses.

The CBI’s first case chargesheet has charged Tawade with offences related to criminal conspiracy read with murder. The CBI accused Tawade of allegedly withdrawing from all overt activities in Kolhapur and resurfacing there again in April 2013. When asked about the fact that the CBI had earlier claimed that the alleged shooters were Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, for whom it had last year declared a `5 lakh award for information, there was no response from a CBI spokesperson.