Sharad Kalaskar, the man allegedly responsible for the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar nearly six years ago, has confessed to shooting him twice, once in the head and once after he fell, right above his right eye. The confession, which was 14 pages long, was recorded by the Karnataka Police, as accessed by NDTV.
He also admitted to being involved in the killing of two other individuals, rationalist Govind Pansare and journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Sharad Kalaskar was arrested in October 2018 in connection to another case and has been in jail ever since, with the charges of conspiracy and the murder of Gauri Lankesh. According to NDTV, it was in the course of questioning for these other crimes that he made mentions to the details of Dabholkar’s murder.
Sharad Kalaskar was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad during raids at a pistol manufacturing unit in Nallasopara, Palghar district. It was at some point after that, that they established a link between the murder of the rationalists, Gauri Lankesh and certain right wing groups. The information was then shared with the Karnataka Police.
When talking of the events that led up to the alleged murders in his confession, Kalaskar said that he was given a short course in ideology, use of firearms and the method of making bombs after he was contacted by some right-wing members.
He claimed to have been brainwashed into committing the murders. Virendrasinh Tawde is the person who, he claims, told him to commit the murders and is allegedly considered to be the mastermind behind the crime. He too has been arrested by the CBI.
Sharad Kalaskar said in a report by NDTV that he had been told by Tawde to shoot Narendra Dabholkar in the head so as to ensure his immediate death and was instructed to commit the crime when Dabholkar was out on his morning walk on the Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune.
In the same report, he said that he used a country-made pistol to shoot Dabholkar in the head from behind, and as Dabholkar fell, he fired again but the bullet got stuck.
He then dislodged the bullet that got stuck and shot Dabholkar again above the right eye. He said that the second shooter with him, Sachin Andure also opened fire.
After the murder of Dabholkar, Kalaskar said that Virendrasinh Tawde introduced him to Amol Kale (who has been arrested in the case of Gauri Lankesh murder). He also said that he attended many meeting in which the plan to kill Gauri Lankesh was being made.
In August 2017, he attended another meeting where the plan to kill Gauri Lankesh was finalised and roles were handed to them. Gauri Lankesh was killed a month later.
Rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 67, who fought against superstitious beliefs through his Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), was gunned down near his residence on the morning of June 20, 2013.
Two unidentified motorcycle borne assailants fired several rounds at him near the Omkareshwar temple in Pune.
Almost four years later, Gauri Lankesh, 55, journalist-cum-activist, was shot dead outside her residence in Bangalore on September 5, 2017.
She served as the editor of Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada weekly launched by her father P Lankesh, and also ran her own weekly called Gauri Lankesh Patrike.
Though the two high-profile murders were committed four years apart, in both these cases, the long suspected alleged role of certain right-wing activists, including those associated with Sanatan Sanstha and others, has now emerged.