Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi murders
Evidence submitted to Kolhapur Sessions Court on how Hindutva group orchestrated assassinations
Arguing against the bail application of two accused in the assassinations of rationalists Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi between 2013 and 2015, special public prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar has submitted evidence to the Kolhapur Sessions Court on Monday, elaborating on the direct involvement of the right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha in all three cases.
Based on his argument, the court rejected bail applications of Sachin Andure and Bharat Kurne. During his arguments, Nimbalkar explained in detail the role the duo played in the murder of the Kolhapur-based Left leader Pansare and Pune-based anti-superstition crusader Dr Dabholkar. The two accused had applied for bail on the grounds that they are not the actual assailants, and that the main accused, Dr Virendra Tawde, had been granted bail in the Pansare murder case. However, Nimbalkar, who addressed the court using video conferencing from Pune, argued that both were main conspirators in the murders.
He pointed out, “The duo are key players in all three murders. It was a big criminal conspiracy with similar modus operandi used in all the three murders, which were committed by the same Hindutva organisation. Same weapons have been used for killing all three. Two weapons were used to shoot Pansare and his wife. One of those was also used to kill Dr Dabholkar, while the other was used in the Kalburgi murder.”
The court rejected bail applications of accused duo Andure (below) and Kurne based on the arguments in court on Monday; Dr Dabholkar (above, L) was murdered in 2013 while Pansare (C) and Kalburgi (R) were killed in 2015; links between their assassinations and that of Lankesh are being explored by investigating agencies;
He further argued, “The direct involvement of Sanatan Sanstha in all three murders comes through as all the accused are members of the organisation. Both Pansare and Dr Dabholkar criticised the organisation in their speech and articles. They’ve both written a number of books against the Hindutva organisation. After Dr Dabholkar’s murder, Pansare in a speech in 2013 spoke up against the organisation at Pune, which put him on Sanatan’s hit list.”
Nimbalkar also submitted evidence from the search conducted at Samir Gaikwad’s house, which unravelled the plans of the organisation to create a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. “The organisation viewed those who did not agree with its philosophy to be ‘rogue’, while those who followed them as decent or ethical. All the rogues were put on their hit list and it was decided to serve them mrityudand (death penalty), which in its philosophy is not sin,” the public prosecutor explained, submitting the material collected from Gaikwad’s home.
Going into the role played by Andure and Kurne in the Pansare murder, he informed, “The main culprit Tawde recruited the two for training in shooting and making bombs. Before the murder, a meeting was conducted, wherein Andure was sent as one of the four present at the spot during the murder. Kurne was assigned with collecting the weapons used, from Tawde, after the murder. Pansare was shot at 9.30 am and Kurne collected the weapons at 10.30 am, before proceeding to Belgaum to dispose them.”
Contesting the bail application, Nimbalkar added, “Investigation is still underway with main accused Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar absconding. If the accused are released on bail they will tamper with evidence.”
Pansare and his wife were shot at on February 16, 2015, while returning from their morning walk at Sangli, the district adjoining Kolhapur. Pansare succumbed to his injuries five days later. A special investigation team (SIT) has been working on the case, with the Bombay High Court monitoring it. To date, the SIT has filed five charge-sheets and 12 of the accused have been arrested, including Andure and Kurne. Likewise, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the Dr Dabholkar murder, while the Karnataka police are looking into the murders of journalist Gauri Lankesh and scholar and academic MM Kalburgi. The investigating agencies are convinced that the four cases are interlinked and some of the suspects in these cases are also involved in the Nallasopara arms haul case, which being probed by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS).
Courtesy Pune Mirror