Following the investigating officer’s failure to file a chargesheet against the two accused in Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder case, a magisterial court in Pune granted the accused bail on the condition they furnish a bond of Rs 50,000 each. The court has also asked the investigating officer, ACP Rajendra Bhamre, to explain within seven days as to why action should not be taken against him for failing to file the chargesheet against accused Manish Nagori and Vikas Khandelwar, both residents of Hatkanangale in Kolhapur district.
Nagori and Khandelwal are accused of supplying the 7.65 mm bore pistol which was allegedly used to kill Dabholkar on the bridge near Omkareshwar Temple.
Judicial Magistrate A B Shaikh granted bail after Bhamre submitted to the court that they could not file the chargesheet within the prescribed limit of 90 days as the main conspirators were still at large.
“Although we have seized incriminating evidence from the Manish Nagori and Vilas Khandelwal in the form of the weapon which was used for committing the crime, the main conspirators couldn’t be arrested so far. Till the conspirators are arrested the entire conspiracy and roles played of various accused won’t be clear. Because of this we won’t be able to file the chargesheet within the prescribed time of 90 days,” the investigating officer submitted.
According to police, when Nagori and Khandelwal were arrested by the Thane Police from Mumbra on August 20 2013, the day of the murder, they had recovered three firearms from Khandelwal which were supplied to him by Nagori. The police maintained that the ballistic analysis of the three weapons showed that one pistol matched with the bullets recovered from Dabholkar’s body.
The defence had vehemently denied this theory by saying it was impossible that the weapon used for the murder could have reached back to them in Mumbra within a couple of hours.
“There’s no compelling evidence against my clients. They only have produced a photocopy of the ballistic report which wasn’t even obtained by them. Despite interrogating the accused for 14 days, there hasn’t been any progress in the investigation. Hence, it makes a strong case for their release on bail,” argued B A Aloor, the defence lawyer.
Apart from the Rs 50,000 bond, the magistrate has put the condition that the duo will assist the investigation and not flee.
Manish’s father Ramvilas Nagori said, “It is clear that the arrests were made under political pressure. My son and Khandelwal were arrested on the day of the murder in Thane. Since then they are in custody. Police have made all the attempts to frame them. ATS had their custody, but could not find anything. Pune police first arrested him in a murder of a security guards from Pune University, then for the murder of an unidentified man from Hinjewadi – and then in Dabholkar murder case. This is really shameful. Police have not found anything concrete against my son.”