Guilty by diktat
by Shriram Luktuke on 27 Dec 2018 1 Comment

‘Guilty’ before ‘investigation’


For the past few years, we have been observing that an innocent person is held guilty while the guilty remain free; there have been adequate examples of such politically motivated conspiracies. A decade-long analysis of the working of Hindu leaders and organisations shows tremendous apathy by politicians and indicates the urgency of reforms in governance and the system of justice. The ‘saffron terror’ introduced by Congress continues to implicate innocent Hindu activists and organisations. Murders of so-called ‘progressives, rationalists’ like Dr Narendra Dabholkar (Aug. 20, 2013), Govind Pansare (Feb. 20, 2015), Prof. M.M. Kalburgi (Aug. 30, 2015) and Gauri Lankesh (Sept. 5, 2017) have been abundantly discussed in national media, but there was a vacuum in bringing facts about the investigation into the public domain in the larger interests of society.


The recent bail granted to three accused persons in the Dabholkar Murder Case, namely, Amol Kale, Amit Degwekar and Rajesh Bangera by the magistrate court in Pune raised many eyebrows. The bail followed the failure to file a chargesheet as no evidence could be collected against the accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).


Yet, unanswered and unsolved controversies are not new; some glaring examples are listed below.


1] Investigation shelved on recovery of murder weapon


The pistol by which NarendraDabholkar was murdered was seized in Thane district by the Thane Anti-Extortion Cell when they arrested Vikas Khandelwal and Manish Nagori on Jan. 20, 2014. Thus, from that day, the said pistol was in the custody of the Thane Police first, then with the Pune Police, and thereafter with the CBI which started investigations after the order of the Bombay High Court.


Later, Govind Pansare was murdered in February 2015 and M.M. Kalburgi in August 2016. The CBI collected the bullets and empty cartridges and got them examined by the Forensic Lab at Bengaluru.


2] Shocking results


The CBI stated that of the two pistols used in the Pansare murder in February 2015, one pistol was earlier used in the Dabholkar murder. If that is indeed true, it means that the pistol which was in CBI custody was used to killPansare and returned to CBI custody? Has the investigation agency worked on that angle?


3]Accused and released


BothVikas Khandelwal and Manish Nagori who were arrested by the Pune Police were let off by the CBI. Noexplanations have been given for this development in any of the chargesheets filed so far. It is worth noting that media reports in 2013 stated that Khandelwal and Nagori had claimed in court that they were offered Rs 25 lakhs to admit the police story and point fingers at certain persons as per instruction of the police.


4] CBI’s changing stance


The CBI raided the Sanatan Ashram at Ponda, Goa, on June 1, 2016. No offensive or criminal articles were found. Prior to the raid, Ashish Khaitan, then office bearer of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaked the news of the raid even before the raid began. Was inside information being leaked? Soon after the raid, the CBI arrested Dr. Virendra Tawade, even though no evidence was recovered in the said raid.


5] Charge sheet against Tawade


The CBI filed a chargesheet against Dr. Virendra Tawade, an ENT specialist, claiming that he was the mastermind of the murder of Narendra Dabholkar and that Vinay Pawar and Sarang Akolkar were the actual shooters. The chargesheet was filed in 2016; it had two eye-witnesses identifying Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar as the persons who shot Dabholkar. However, in 2018, the CBI claimed that Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar killed Dabholkar.


When only two persons killed Dabholkar on Omkareswar Bridge in Pune, how could these two persons be Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar in 2016, and Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar in 2018? Surely CBI must give an explanation.


The CBI recently filed an application for extension of custody of Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure. The application was allowed by the Magistrate though the defence advocates questioned the seriousness of the CBI in filing the application.


6] Changes in post-mortem report


M.M. Kalburgi was murdered in August 2015, though the CBI claimed that the murder happened in 2016. This could be a typographical error.


But when the wounds on the body of Dabholkar were also changed by the CBI, it is a serious issue. The Dabholkar post-mortem report does not state that he was hit by a bullet in the stomach, but the CBI application states that Sachin Andure shot Dabholkar in his stomach.


Strangely, no questions have been raised on these issues by leftists who seem satisfied with the attempts to implicate innocent Hindu activists. This is not the first case in which the actions of the CBI have been questioned. We have records wherein a Session court’s order had heavily criticised the police investigation in a case and noted ‘police filed an FIR with the sole intention to frame organisation’.


Given the quality of the investigations that are now reflecting in court, it seems unlikely that the real motives behind the killings will be uncovered and the real conspirators exposed. The only saving grace might be that given the shoddy investigations, the innocent may eventually be set free by the courts. 

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