Narendra Dabholkar murder: Defence lawyer's clerk arrested from Thane
Lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar arrested on Saturday based on probe and statement by shooter Sharad Kalaskar
The CBI arrested the defence lawyer of the accused in Dr Narendra Dabholkar's murder case, over the weekend. The lawyer had allegedly advised the accused to dismantle and destroy four country-made pistols used in the crime.
Dr Dabholkar was gunned down on August 20, 2013 around 7.20 am by two people on a motorcycle by firing four rounds at him on the Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune. The CBI had earlier arrested Panvel-based ENT specialist Dr Virendrasinh Tawde as the mastermind behind the murder and after 36 months of probe, Aurangabad-based Sachin Andure, 26, was arrested. Andure is suspected of being one of the shooters, along with Sharad Kalaskar. Amit Ramchandra Digwekar, 33, and Ramesh D Bangera were arrested subsequently for planning and providing weapon training respectively.
CBI officers arrested advocate Sanjeev Punalekar from Mumbai on Saturday and his clerk Vikram Bhave from Thane on Sunday afternoon. The duo was produced before Special Judge S N Sonawane and has been remanded till June 1.
"The arrest was made on the basis of the statement given by accused and our investigation. The lawyer's clerk also has a past criminal record," CBI investigating officer told mid-day.
Sent to CBI custody
At the hearing, CBI counsel Prakash Suryawanshi argued, "In June 2018, Kalaskar had visited the chamber of lawyer Punalekar in his Fort office. Bhave, too, was present there. Assailant Kalaskar had then confessed about his role in the murder and was advised by Punalekar to destroy the firearms used in the murders of Dr Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh. The four country-made pistols were thus dismantled on July 23, 2018 by removing the barrel and slider containing firearms and thrown into the Thane creek."
However, Punalekar argued that the case was baseless as the CBI was referring to Kalaskar's statement recorded by Karnataka Police. "How am I being arrested in connection with a probe in another case? Being a lawyer, I can meet my client in the court," he argued.
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