Gang wars, chain snatching mar city life but Dabholkar’s murder was the low point

Pune witnessed several serious crimes in 2013, but the biggest was the broad-day light murder of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar on the bridge near Omkareshwar temple on

August 20.

The murder exposed the way the city police functions. Investigations revealed that Dabholkar was shot dead by two persons who came on a motorcycle. A CCTV footage from near the crime scene showed that assailants had come near the Omkareshwar bridge around 6.15 am.

They parked the vehicle, followed Dabholkar for some time and then shot him dead around 7.15 pm. Interestingly, the crime scene lies a few metre between two police chowkies, but none of the policemen is said to have seen the assailants.

Four months have passed and the police have not been able to solve the murder case. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who was in city on Friday, said it was embarrassing that murderers of Dabholkar have not yet been arrested.

The police said the location (Omkareshwar bridge) was strategic. There were not many persons at the crime scene. Also, there were multiple ways for escaping from the crime scene. The police had managed to get a few eye-witnesses who were believed to have seen the murderers. Based on their description, the police released the sketch of two suspects.

Initially, the needle of suspicion was on radical Hindu outfits like Sanatan Sanstha. But in an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court, the crime branch of city police stated that there is no clue on the involvement of Hindu outfits in Dabholkar's murder.

The police questioned hundreds of activists of various Hindu outfits like Sanatan Sanstha and checked lakhs of cell phone calls made from the places and route that Dabholkar visited before his murder. The police suspect that Dabholkar's murder was contract killing. So hundreds of gangsters and arms dealers, including those who are lodged in different jails in the state were questioned.

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