Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Narendra Dabholkar murder case: 3 including alleged mastermind acquitted, 2 get life imprisonment

A Pune court on Friday convicted two Hindutva men accused in the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar and acquitted three other Hindu right wing activists.

On Friday, Sessions Judge PP Jadhav convicted Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, sentencing them to life imprisonment along with a penalty of Rs 5 lakh. On the other hand, Virendrasingh Tawade, Vikram Bhave and Sanjeev Punalekar were acquitted.

Virendrasingh Tawade who was arrested by CBI in 2016 is a doctor linked to Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha. The investigation agency had alleged that he was the mastermind of the conspiracy to murder Dabholkar.

Dabholkar, who was the founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013. According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Andure and Kalaskar had shot Dabholkar.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Sanatan Sanstha was opposed to the work carried out by the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, an organisation working to fight superstition.

The Pune Police was initially investigating Dabholkar’s murder in 2013. However, the Central Bureau of Investigation took over the inquiry into the case in 2014 following an order from the Bombay High Court.

The judgement was pronounced after a trial that lasted almost three years.

“Tawade, Punalekar, and Bhave have been acquitted for want of evidence. The prosecution failed to prove the charges,” said Additional sessions judge A A Jadhav. “In the case of Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure, the charges have been proved. They have been held guilty and imprisoned for life.”

Dabholkar’s murder had been followed by the murders of rationalist and Communist Party of India leader Govind Pansare at Maharashtra’s Kolhapur and MM Kalburgi, a Kendriya Sahitya Akademi awardee and anti-superstition activist, at Karnataka’s Dharwad district in 2015. The probe agencies have said these three cases as well as the killing of veteran journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017 were linked and Hindutva groups were behind them.


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