Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dabholkar case suspect does a U-turn on Maria

ATS chief Rakesh Maria


Asseem Shaikh & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Pune/Mumbai: Arms dealer Manish Nagori, who had alleged that the Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria had offered Rs 25 lakh to confess to his role in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case, has done a U-turn on the charges. On Tuesday, Nagori told a Pune court that he had made the allegations against Maria in an “emotional state of mind” and they were not true.
    Last week, Nagori’s lawyer Biju Aloor had alleged in open court that Maria offered money to Nagori and his associate Vikas Khandelwal to ‘admit’ their involvement in the rationalist’s muder. Nagori alleged that he was made a scapegoat following pressure from state home minister R R Patil. He also claimed that the ATS had illegally subjected them to lie detector, polygraph and narco-analysis tests, without a court’s permission or their consent. Magistrate A B Shaikh advised Nagori that any complaint against ATS should be made to the proper court and not him.
    There are up to 27 cases illegal arm selling against Nagori in the state. He faces at least four murder cases in Pune and Kolhapur. Following his interrogation two months ago, the ATS recovered 20 firearms from nine other accused and arrested them.
    It is learnt that ATS officials, on November 20 last year, wrote to the Pune police chief saying the firearm recovered from Khandelwal matched the bullets removed from Dabholkar body. The ATS has also attached a ballistic report of the forensic science laboratory. The agency is learnt to have further written that since the Pune police was probing the Dabholkar case, the ATS was ready to assist them in the probe. The duo has been sent to police custody till February 4.
    ACP (crime) Rajendra Bhamre said they were probing how the weapon had reached Mumbra and, hence, further custodial interrogation of Nagori and Khandelwal was essential. He further said Nagori and Khandelwal were not co-operating with the police.
    Assistant public prosecutor M G Poul argued that while investigations have confirmed the suspects’ role in the conspiracy meeting, they were being vague and misleading in their replies. Aloor submitted that CCTV footage nowhere show the suspects as being present at the scene before or after the murder.

The Times of India, January 28, 2014

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