After investigative agencies last week claimed that members of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Sanathan and the Sanathan Sanstha were behind the murder of Maharashtra writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday made its first arrest in the case. Reports said Sanatan Sanstha member and prime suspect Virendra Tawde was nabbed in Navi Mumbai. The agency had raided his home last week.
Dabholkar, who had received several death threats for crusading for anti-superstition legislation, was shot by two unknown gunmen while he was walking near his Pune home on August 20, 2013. His death had caused uproar in the state. The case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2014, after the Mumbai Police were unable to make much headway in it.
Dabholkar had founded the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti and was known for crusading against the evils of superstition and attempted to get an anti-black magic Bill passed several times in the state. His organisation crafted the Anti-Jaadu Tona Bill (Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance), which was originally opposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena, who claimed it would go against Hindu culture. Dabholkar, however, maintained that his Bill had little to do with religion. The Maharashtra Cabinet, then led by the Congress, cleared the Bill a day after his murder.