Additional Sessions Judge S B Kachre Saturday rejected a plea filed by former senior police inspector Bhausaheb Andhalkar and ex-assistant police inspector Namdev Kauthale who wanted to be shifted out of Yerwada Prison for security reasons.
Both were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the murder of RTI and anti-corruption activist Satish Shetty. The judge directed the administration of Yerwada Central Prison to ensure the safety of the accused while they are lodged at the prison. Meanwhile, the judge remanded Andhalkar and Kauthale to magisterial custody for 14 days.
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“My clients had appealed that due to presence of professional criminals inside the prison, they were feeling unsafe and there was a threat to their life and safety inside the prison. Hence, they had requested the court to shift them out of the prison. Although this prayer was rejected by the court, it directed the prison administration to make sure that the two inmates remain safe inside the prison,” said advocate Sudhir Shah, the defence lawyer.
Shetty, a resident of Talegaon Dabhade, was the Pune district coordinator of an organisation, Bhrashtachar Virodhi Dakshata Samiti. He was an RTI and anti-corruption activist. On the morning of January 13, 2010, Shetty was stabbed to death in Talegaon Dabhade, not far from his home.
Retired police inspector Bhausaheb Andhalkar was then heading the local crime branch (LCB) of Pune rural police, which was investigating the murder case. Last week, the CBI arrested Andhalkar and this week Monday, the agency arrested Kauthale (61), who was was posted as Assistant Inspector at the LCB when Shetty was murdered.
It was Kauthale who had conducted the primary panchanama of the crime scene and the seizure of some items which purportedly belonged to an accused arrested by Pune rural police.
The Pune rural police in their initial investigation in 2010, had arrested one Dongrya Rathod for the murder of Shetty. Kauthale had seized a T-Shirt from Rathod’s house which purportedly had blood stains of Shetty on it. The CBI closure report stated that when the samples were sent to Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory for DNA matching, Shetty’s DNA and that on the T-Shirt did not match. Also, one person who was named as a panchnama witness by Pune rural police, later told the CBI that he was not present at the time of panchnama and had signed the report as witness without reading it.
An LCB team led by Andhalkar had also arrested advocate Vijay Dhabhade from Talegaon in the murder case. Satish Shetty’s family had then come out openly in support of Dabhade, saying he was innocent and wrongly arrested by the police. Dabhade was later released on bail and died last year.