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Dabholkar murder: Accused given bail after cops fail to file chargesheet

Accused illegal arms dealer Manish Nagori and aide Vikas Khandelwal were granted bail because the Pune police didn’t submit the chargesheet even 90 days after their arrest

In a major embarrassment for the Pune police, alleged illegal arms dealer Manish Nagori and his aide Vikas Khandelwal – both accused in the killing of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar - were granted bail yesterday because the cops failed to submit the chargesheet against them within 90 days of their arrest.


Conspirators? Manish Nagori and Vikas Khandelwal being produced in court earlier. File pic

The court of judicial magistrate (first class) A B Shaikh has also issued a show-cause notice to the investigating officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajendra Bhamare. The court has asked Bhamare to file an affidavit in seven days mentioning the reasons why action should not be taken against him.

Nagori and Khandelwal were granted conditional bail under sections 167 (2) of the Code Of Criminal Procedure, and on furnishing a bond and solvent surety of R50,000. The court granted the bail on the conditions that they will be present in front of investigating agencies and court whenever required and will not tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses in the case.

Nagori and Khandelwal were arrested in connection with the Dabholkar murder case on January 20 this year, and were lodged in the Thane jail.  ACP Bhamare opposed the bail plea of the suspects by stating that the investigating agency has evidence regarding the duo’s involvement in the murder of Dr Dabholkar. “We have the ballistic expert’s report which shows that one of the firearms recovered from the accused which was handed over to them by killer of Dr Dabholkar,” Bhamare said.

Defense counsel BA Aloor pressed for Nagori and Khandelwal’s bail of saying that barring the ballistic report, the prosecution has no other evidence supporting the case.  “Even after the accusedwere interrogated in police custody the investigating officer failed to gather any evidence of the alleged conspiracy in Dr Dabholkar’s murder. The police had earlier arrested the accused in connection with other murder cases too, but had later discharged them,” Aloor told the court.

The Role of the Accused

Anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne unidentified assailants in the morning of August 20, 2013 at the Maharshi Shinde bridge opposite Omkareshwar temple. According to ballistic reports, the killers had used a pistol of 7.65 mm bore to fire at Dabholkar. Police believe that Nagori had supplied the firearm to the assailants and Khandelwal had received that pistol from one of the accused after Dabholkar was gunned down.

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