The Pune Sessions Court on Tuesday, 4 June, turned down the CBI’s request seeking further custody of advocate Sanjeev Punalekar and his assistant, Vikram Bhave, arrested in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case. They have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
The court stated that the agency did not present any fresh grounds for seeking their custody.
Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryawanshi told the court that the CBI had recovered some crucial data, including names and contact numbers, from Punalekar's laptop and mobile phone, and it wanted to interrogate him further based on these leads., PTI reported.
The ‘Forensic Psychology Assessment’ and ‘Forensic Statement Assessment’ tests of Punalekar indicated that he was deceptive, the prosecutor claimed.
The agency had arrested lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar and Vikram Bhave, a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, in Mumbai on 25 May, for allegedly helping in destruction of evidence in the Dabholkar murder case.
Punalekar and Bhave were in CBI's custody for 11 days.
They were then produced before the Pune-based court of Additional Sessions Judge S N Sonawane, who remanded them to the agency's custody till 1 June after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence.
Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist, was shot dead while he was out on morning walk in Pune on 20 August 2013.
A preliminary probe had revealed that Punalekar and Bhave had links with the two alleged killers of Dabholkar and had also helped in destruction of evidence, apart from providing other assistance.
After the arrest, CBI had told the court that Punalekar had allegedly asked Sharad Kalaskar, one of the shooters arrested in the case, to destroy the weapons used in the killing of Dabholkar and journalist Gauri Lankesh. It also told the court that both the accused were not cooperating with it in the investigation.
It also said Bhave had allegedly assisted the shooters and conducted a reconnaissance of the spot, where Dabholkar was shot at.
Bhave, a convict in the 2008 Gadkari Rangayatan blast case, was out on bail.
The Case So Far
So far, six people, including Sanatan Sanstha member and ENT surgeon Virendrasinh Tawde, Sachin Andure and Kalaskar, have been arrested by the CBI.
The CBI had claimed that Andure and Kalaskar had shot Dabholkar dead. The agency has also arrested Rajesh Bangera, Amol Kale and Amit Digvekar in connection with the alleged conspiracy.
Bangera and Kale are also accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.
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