22 January, 2021

Murder? Search My Soul

To solve Narendra Dabholkar's murder, the Pune Police resorted to supernatural mumbo-jumbo and irrational faith, the very societal ill that he fought against so valiantly

Illustration by Saahil
Murder? Search My Soul

Ten months after the killing of noted rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, we are none the wiser about his killers. Ashish Khetan visits Pune and Mumbai to reconstruct a near-perfect murder and a ‘spirited’ police investigation hits an absurd, irrational low.

The Maharashtra Police is notorious for messing up critical crime investigations. Its supposedly premier agency—ATS or the Anti-Terror Squad—manufactured bogus evidence in the Malegaon bomb blasts, the 7/11 serial train explosions and the German Bakery terror case. They have also failed to solve RTI activist Satish Shetty’s murder and the rape and killing of three minor girls in Bhandara—both of which cases are now with the CBI. But nothing prepares you for the investigation techniques—eventually all in vain, alas!—deployed by the Pune Police to solve the Dabholkar murder (this case too was transferred to the CBI in May this year by the Bombay High Court).

Dabholkar, a medical doctor-tur­ned-social activist, devoted his whole life to promoting a...



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