Mumbai: Three years after renowned rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in broad daylight in Maharashtra, an ENT specialist has been named as the main conspirator by the CBI. Virendra Singh Tawde, who has been linked to the rightwing group Sanatan Sanstha, has been named in a charge-sheet submitted by the CBI in Pune, the city where Mr Dabholkar was murdered. He has been in jail since June.
Two more Sanatan Sanstha members, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, have also been named as "assassins of Mr Dabholkar". They are missing. The 67-year-old anti-superstition crusader was shot dead by bikers on August 20, 2013 near his home while he was on a morning walk. He was shot four times; two bullets hit him in the back of his head.
The murder was linked to his aggressive campaign for an anti-superstition law that was passed later that year. Such a law had been opposed by many right-wing groups as "anti-Hindu." In 2014, a court asked the CBI to take over the case. Last year, there were two more similar killings, of scholar MM Kalburgi and Left politician Govind Pansare.
The families of the three claimed that these murders were connected and the same group was behind them. Tawde was arrested in June in connection with Dr Pansare's murder. "This is a significant development, officially the Sanatan Sanstha has been named and Dr Tawde and the others have been named," said Mr Dabholkar's son Hamid.