• “I shot Narendra Dabholkar twice”: Sharad Kalaskar Confesses

    Newsclick Report

    June 28, 2019

    The accused in the Narendra Dabholkar assassination case, Sharad Kalaskar, has confessed to have shot at the rationalist twice in Pune on August 20, 2013.

    According to an NDTV report, Kalaskar told Karnataka Police how he shot the 67-year-old twice – once in the head from behind, and when he fell, once above the right eye. He also said that his companion, Andure, also shot Dabholkar, reported Deccan Herald. Andure is a member of the Right-wing Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. 

    The NDTV report said that in a “chilling” 14-page-confession, Kalaskar has also admitted to being linked to two other murders – that of communist leader Govind Pansare and journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.

    As NewsClick had reported earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team had arrested Sachin Prakashrao Andure from Aurangabad on August 18, 2018, alleging that he was among those who shot Dabholkar. Andure was the fourth person to be arrested in the case. On June 20, 2014, Manish Nagori and Vilas Khandewal were arrested by Pune police.

    Following a PIL filed by journalist Ketan Tirodkar, the CBI had taken over this case in May 2014, on the direction of the Bombay High Court. In May 2016, Virendra Tawde of Sanatan Sanstha (SS) was arrested in connection with the case. Along with Tawde, the CBI has named Vinay Pawar, who is missing since 2009, Sarang Akolkar, who is absconding in the October 2009 Goa blast case, as prime suspects. 

    Sharad Kalaskar, who had confided to the Karnataka SIT that Sanjeev Punalekar had asked him to destroy evidence, was arrested by Maharashtra ATS in the Nalasopara case, and he was taken into custody by the CBI as he confided that he and Andure were involved in the killing of Dabholkar.

    In his confession, Kalaskar has said that he was brainwashed by Virendra Tawade of SS to “kill all the evil people”—evil people here being the anti-Hindutva voices. Kalaskar had confided to the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating Gauri Lankesh’s case that Punalekar had asked him to destroy the guns used in assassinating Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.  Punalekar, the lawyer of SS, along with his assistant Vikram Bhave were arrested by the CBI on May 25, 2019. 

    It is after a long chase of six years that the CBI has managed to crack the case, and it has now established that it was an ideologically motivated political assassination. Every person arrested so far by the CBI, SIT of Karnataka and Maharashtra are directly or indirectly linked to SS and its splinter groups like Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS). Will Sanatan Sanstha be roped into the investigation? 

    Sanatan Sanstha advocates violence as a tool for the “protection of religion” and establishing a Hindu Rashtra. A day after Dabholkar’s death, SS had published a statement by its founder, Jayant Athavale on its website. It read: “Births and deaths are predestined and everybody gets the fruit of their karma. Instead of dying bedridden t0hrough illness, or after some surgery, such a death for Dabholkar is a blessing of the Almighty.” Athavale added that though “Dabholkar was an atheist and did not believe in god, the same god would give solace to the departed soul.”

    The Goa-based SS has the vision of establishing a “Hindu Rashtra” (a Hindu nation) and propagates extremist Hindutva ideology. The organisation gives a call to, in its founders’ words, “destroy evildoers if you have been advised by saints or Gurus to do so. Then, these acts are not registered in your name.” Those who oppose the idea of the Hindu Rashtra are the evildoers for the SS. The investigations have shown that the Sanstha and its volunteers are not likely to stop at this, and may be willing to kill many more voices that do not cheer for Hindutva – just like Kalaskar.


    First published in Newsclick.

    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.