By Shirish Borkar :
DESPITE getting details from Nagpur City Police about the suspects and their role in eliminating veteran architect-cum-valuer Eknath Nimgade, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seems to be dragging its feet in arresting them for want of ‘ballistic evidence’ in the infamous murder case. The CBI had already submitted the status of investigation in a sealed envelope to the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court. The High Court had directed the Registrar (Judicial) to keep the status report in his safe custody. But if the sources are to be believed, the Special Crime Branch of the country's premier investigation agency is now only searching for the gun used by the suspects to kill the 70-year-old architect Nimgade.
A senior officer from the central police organisation, on the condition of anonymity, said that the common man would never know the investigation details of the CBI in such sensitive cases with no eye-witnesses. “Unless, the agency recovers the pistol or revolver used in the crime, minutely verifies ballistic fingerprints and other necessary evidence useful against the suspects, it won’t make any arrests,” he said. It may be recalled her that CBI had earlier closed the file as it could not get any concrete evidence against the suspects even after announcing a bounty of Rs five lakh to the person(s) providing concrete information about the killer(s) involved in the sensational homicidal case that rocked the Second Capital more than five years ago. In March this year, Crime Branch sleuths, under guidance Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar had cracked the murder mystery of architect Nimgade, who was shot dead near Agrasen Petrol Pump on September 6, 2016. Preliminary investigation by Crime Branch officers had revealed that about 15 hardened criminals from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were hired by some bigshot(s) to kill Nimgade by fixing a deal for Rs five crore with them.
They eliminated him after receiving an advance of Rs 1.75 crore. City Crime Branch’s probe disclosed that the key conspirators were eyeing on Nimgade’s landed property worth Rs 200 crore and had given the ‘suprai’ to dreaded gangster Ranjit Safelkar. Safelkar, with the assistance of Sharad alias Kalu Hatey, contacted another criminal Nawab alias Chhote Sahab Ashrafi alias Nubbu who accepted their offer of Rs five crore to kill the architect. Kalu Hatey had given Rs 1.20 crore in two installments to Nubbu in July, 2016. Nubbu, Baba alias Raja POP alias Mohsin Ansari Badruddin Ansari of Chhindwara (MP), one Parvez and Baba from UP too were allegedly involved in the conspiracy. One of the killers pumped eight bullets into the septuagenarian from point blank range when he was returning home on a moped after a morning walk at Agrasen Garden. The deceased’s family members had also named five persons, including two prominent builders and a former union minister, as suspects.
The High Court had directed the CBI to take over the investigation from city police following a petition by the deceased architect’s son Adv Anupam. CBI had also conducted deception detection tests, narco-analysis, polygraph and brain mapping of a few suspects but could not get ‘concrete evidence’ against them. City Police had arrested Safelkar, Kalu Hatey and a few others in Manish Shriwas murder case and also booked them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and chargesheeted them.