Narendra Dabholkar accused in CBI custody till June 4

Updated: Jun 02, 2019, 07:48 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Investigating body tells court the accused not cooperating in murder case

Narendra Dabholkar accused in CBI custody till June 4
Dr Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in August 2013

The sessions judge AV Rote yesterday extended the CBI custody of Sanatan Sanstha lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave till June 4, in connection with the murder of anti-superstition crusader and rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in 2013.

The CBI informed the court that it had recovered two laptops and a mobile phone from the accused, and that the accused were not cooperating in the investigation. Punalekar, a resident of Mumbai, and Bhave, a resident of Thane, were arrested on May 25. The CBI had been granted their custody till June 1. However, they were produced in court again yesterday.

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryawanshi, appearing for the CBI, while arguing for granting additional police custody, said, "The nature of this crime is sensitive. In-depth investigation of the duo is needed, as they are not cooperating with officials. We have recovered two laptops and one smart phone from the accused, which have been sent to the forensic lab. Experts are trying to retrieve data from these devices."

He further told the court that Punalekar had "crossed his limits as an advocate" and advised one of the accused, Sharad Kalaskar, to destroy the weapons used in the murder of Dabholkar, following which four pistols were thrown and destroyed.

Advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay, appearing for Bhave, told the court that both the accused were interrogated by the CBI for two days before the arrest. "Despite that, they [CBI] could not get any material to make any arrest. The CBI investigation is fabricated and meant to mislead the ongoing case.

It's against the law to arrest a person on the basis of a statement given by an accused, who is in the Karnataka police custody in connection with another murder case," the defence argued, while referring to Kalaskar's involvement in the murder of Gauri Lankesh. After hearing both the sides, Judge Rote granted the CBI custody of the accused till June 4.

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