Tip-Off From Karnataka Led to Arrest of Dabholkar’s Killer

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It was Karnataka special investigation team’s tip off that led to arrest of Sachin Andure, the alleged shooter of Dabholkar.

Pune/Bengaluru: It was just a few phone numbers that Karnataka team probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh that led to the arrest of Sachin Andure, the man who pulled the trigger on writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

IGP BK Singh, head of the SIT in the Lankesh murder case, was quoted as saying: “We were investigating from every angle. Also, looking at the way all these people (Dabholkar, Pansare, Lankesh and MM Kalburgi) were murdered, it is obvious that they are interconnected. During the investigation, we got some contact numbers which we found suspicious. We shared them with the Maharashtra ATS and they investigated the information further.”

Gauri Lankesh (Journalist)

Confirming that the link came from Karnataka, SR Singh, CBI investigating officer in the Dabholkar case, said, “There is a constant exchange of information between the teams. This information was shared by the Karnataka cops, following which the arrests were made at our end.”

While investigations in all four cases (Dabholkar, Pansare, Lankesh and MM Kalburgi) is still on, Singh claimed that it is merely a matter of another five or six months. “It will take six months to unravel the entire plot. At the moment, no one knows the details,” he was quoted in Pune Mirror.

Dabholkar was murdered while out for a morning walk in Pune on August 20, 2013, and investigating officials were constantly hitting dead ends in their probes. As the probe remained in limbo, journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017, in Bengaluru.

Narendra Dabholkar

The special investigation team (SIT) formed in her murder progressed quickly, arresting one accused after another. Within a few days, KT Naveen Kumar, a member of the Hindu Yuva Sene was arrested, followed by the arrest of Praveen alias Suchith Kumar, an alleged recruiter in the Lankesh case. Two more persons were also arrested – Amit Degwekar from Goa and Amol Kale from Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune. More arrests followed, but it was Kale’s arrest that would prove to be the key to Dabholkar’s murder.

Cops recovered a diary from Kale which had a hit list containing 26 names of people who were ‘anti-Hindu.’ During the interrogation, the Karnakata SIT came across a few details which led them to links with the Dabholkar murder. Accordingly, these were passed on to Maharashtra ATS, ultimately leading to the arrests of Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar. In the process of interrogation, Kalaskar confessed to his involvement in the Dabholkar murder case, finally leading to Andure’s arrest.