Pune, June 11 (IANS) Rightwing activist Virendra S. Tawde, nabbed on Friday for alleged involvement in the 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, was on Saturday sent to CBI custody till June 16.
Tawde, an ENT specialist who is believed to be a coordinator of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) and a member of Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested from his home at Panvel in Raigad district by the CBI.
He was produced before the Sessions Court which sent him to the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation for a week.
The CBI has said it had “cyber forensic evidences” against Tawde and he was interrogated for several hours before being placed under arrest around 8.30 p.m. on Friday.
Earlier on June 2, the CBI raised Tawde’s residence and questioned him twice at the Sanatan Sanstha ashram at Panvel.
It was the first arrest since the central agency took over the case in May 2014 following the Bombay High Court directives.
A Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson said Tawde was not a member of the HJS and attempts were being made to tarnish the organisation’s name.
Dabholkar was gunned down by two motorcycle borne assailants when near the Omkareshwar Bridge close to his Pune home on August 20, 2013.
His family and others claimed that since he promoted rationalism, he was allegedly targeted by rightwing organizations hurt by his campaigns.
Besides Tawde, the CBI is on the lookout for another absconding rightwing activist, Sarang Akolkar, who is also wanted by the National Investigation Agency for his role in a Goa blast of 2009, and against whom an InterPol Red Corner Notice was issued in 2012.
Reacting to the developments, Maharashtra Congress general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant demanded that it was high time the government imposed a ban on Sanatan Sanstha.
“First its name figured in the killing of Govind Pansare, now Dabholkar, and even litterateur Shripal Sabnis has been openly threatened by the Sanstha.
“Its real face has been exposed and the government must immediately ban the group and arrest all its top officials,” Sawant said.
Dabholkar’s son Hameed and daughter Mukta termed the arrest “belated but a very big step in the right direction”.
They told mediapersons that the CBI must get to the main perpetrators of the killing of Dabholkar and nab them as also the absconding Akolkar.