In a startling revelation, the CBI disclosed that the key suspects of 2009 Goa blast, Malgunda Patil and Sarang Akolkar, had called Virendrasinh Tawade, a suspect in the Dabholkar murder case, before and after the blast.
Tawade was arrested on Friday night by the CBI in connection with the 2013 murder. While Patil died in 2009, after the bomb accidentally exploded, Akolkar has been on the run ever since he has been named in the Goa blast case. Akolkar is allegedly one of the key conspirators in the murder case.
To establish Tawade's role in the murder, his call records are proving to be one of the most important pieces of circumstantial evidence.
Tawade is a member of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, a group linked to Sanatan Sanstha, the radical Hindu group based in Goa.
If the investigating agencies had checked the call records of the two suspects, Dabholkar's murder might have been averted. Tawade's communication with suspects should have put him also on the list of suspects too.
An official quoted by The Times of India said, "If Tawade had been booked in the Goa blast case on the basis of his phone conversations with the suspects, he may have been prevented from planning the murders of Dabholkar and other rationalists."
Defending Tawade, Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak, said his arrest was a conspiracy to defame the organisation, which is doing social work. "A lot of our sadhaks are being targeted by the authorities for no fault of theirs. This is all a big conspiracy," Vartak told PTI.
The CBI is currently probing whether the same group is involved in the murder of Govind Pansare in Kolhapur and MM Kalburgi in Dharwad.
Though Pansare's family had earlier rejected CBI inquiry for his murder case, they now plan to write to the Bombay High Court seeking a transfer to them from the special investigation team (SIT) citing slow progress in the case and lack of transparency.
Dabholkar was murdered on 20 August, 2013 while taking a morning walk in Pune by two unidentified gunmen. Pansare and Kalburgi were also shot at in a similar way outside their homes on 16 February and 30 August, 2015 respectively.
With inputs from PTI