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narendra-dabholkarA local court on Saturday remanded Virendra Tawade, a member of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) and an accused in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, to CBI custody till June 16.

Tawade, arrested by CBI in Panvel near Mumbai last night, was produced before Judicial Magistrate First Class N Shaikh who accepted the investigating agency’s plea that custodial
interrogation of the accused was required to establish his links with other suspects in the case.

Sending Tawade, an ENT surgeon, in CBI custody till June 16, the Judge said that considering the seriousness of the offence and the stage of investigation, his custodial
investigation was required.

HJS is an offshoot of Sanatan Sanstha, a Goa-based right wing Hindu outfit. Tawade is the first accused to be arrested in the nearly three-year-old case.

During arguments on custody plea, CBI lawyer B N Raju told the court that the central agency had proof Tawade was in touch with other suspects through e-mails.

When the Judge asked Tawade if he has been ill-treated after arrest, the accused said he was slapped twice by a CBI official.

Tawade’s arrest is being seen as a major breakthrough in the case which has remained unsolved for the last three years.

Dabholkar was shot dead by unidentified assailants here on August 20, 2013 when he was taking a morning walk on a bridge. The murder of the 67-year-old prominent campaigner against religious superstition the whole country.

After Pune police drew a blank in tracing the culprits, the case was transferred to CBI in May 2014 on a directive from the Bombay High Court while hearing a PIL.

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