Nagpur: In a move that threatens to snowball into a major controvery, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reportedly released the nine prime suspects involved in the sensational Eknath Nimgade murder case, unconfirmed media reports said.
It may be recalled that the prime suspects were nabbed by the Crime Branch of Nagpur Police in the contract killing of 72-year-old Nimgade. The city cops had handed over these suspects to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The premier investigating agency had not said anything on the Nimgade murder case of 2016 even after the city police last month claimed to have got ‘sufficient links’ to prove these suspects had ganged up to eliminate the 72-year-old architect for a ‘supari’ of Rs 5 crore. Police had handed over nine suspects to CBI around a fortnight ago but the agency allegedly released them all.
Kamptee-based gangster Ranjeet Safelkar, also suspected to be the mastermind in Nimgade murder case by city police, was also arrested recently. But his arrest was in the Manish Shriwas murder case of 2012, which is being probed by Nagpur Crime Branch. The CBI had been handed over the Nimgade murder probe barely a month-and-a-half after the incident, on orders by the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court in 2016. The CBI made no headway in the probe, and had allegedly filed a closure report before the court in December 2020. In March 2021, city police claimed to have unearthed the plot and nabbed an inter-state gang who were behind the crime.
If the media reports are to be believed, most of the suspects rounded up by city police then are now accusing the city cops of harassment. As evidence, they are citing the CBI’s action of releasing them, as it is not taking seriously the conspiracy theory projected by city police chief Amitesh Kumar. The Commissioner of Police had said that the Crime Branch team had more than sufficient evidence to believe that the suspects were engaged in gunning down Nimgade after conducting recce for the murder. The city police had also claimed that around Rs 1.25 crore, out of Rs 5 crore of the total deal, too had already exchanged hands to hire the assailants.
The top police boss had also named the suspects and spelt out their roles publicly in a press meet stating how the murder was conceived, planned and executed by the gang when the victim was returning home. Three of the suspects had allegedly fired on Nimgade. He had said that the city police had done their job after sufficient evidence was collected regarding the suspects, who were handed over to the CBI. Now, it’s up to the CBI what they do with the suspects, he said.