The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday confirmed that they had identified one of the two shooters who gunned down rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, reported The Times of India. The officials didn't release the name of the alleged shooter, but mentioned that he was a resident of Satara and that the assailants had borrowed the motorcycle on which they traveled, from arrested Sanatan Sanstha member Virendrasinh Tawde.
The report also suggested that the gunman (identified by the CBI) could also have been involved in the Govind Pansare murder case.
The report quotes an official as saying that the alleged shooter and an accused in a bomb blast case in Goa Sarang Akolkar have both been missing since 2009.
On Wednesday, PTI reported that Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendra Tawde and Sarang Akolkar wanted to eliminate rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2009 itself, but they dropped the plan due to the Margao bomb blast that took place in the same year, CBI sources said on Wednesday, citing evidence pieced together by the agency.
Two Sanatan Sanstha workers - Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik - died when the bomb they were ferrying to Margao, Goa, accidentally exploded in November 2009. Akolkar went absconding since then.
"As per the documentary evidence and investigation till now, Tawde and Akolkar wanted to kill Dabholkar in 2009. However, they had to drop the plan after two Sanatan Sanstha workers died when the bomb, they were ferrying to Margao, accidentally went off," they said.
According to a report by The Indian Express, Sarang Akolkar had conducted a dry run of the attack on Dabholkar.
CBI officers were quoted saying that they had evidence of Akolkar's visit to Pune in June 2013 where he had held a meeting with Tawde.
Tawde, an ENT surgeon, was arrested from Panvel last week for the murder of the 67-year-old anti-superstition crusader. He is the first accused to have been arrested in the nearly three-year-old case.
Tawde, suspected to be the brain behind the murder conspiracy, is said to have hatched the plan to murder the activist along with Akolkar. The plan was finally executed on 20 August, 2013, when Dabholkar was shot dead by two unidentified men while he was on a morning walk on Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune, they said.
In another revelation, the sources said workers of the Goa-based right-wing outfit were present near the bridge when the murder took place.
The sources said Tawde was unhappy with Dabholkar for his relentless campaign against religious superstition. Tawde also allegedly played a key role in the 2009 Sangli-Miraj riots.
The Sanstha has denied any role in Dabholkar's murder and termed Tawde's arrest as "mysterious".
With inputs from PTI