Various Hindu organisations came together on Wednesday to protest the arrest of advocate Sanjiv Punalekar by the CBI last week in connection to the murder of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.
Representatives from several organisations, including Sanatan Sanstha, Virshaiva Lingayat Samaj, Lashkar-e-Hind and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), came together alleging that Punalekar had been framed in the case.
Punalekar, an office-bearer of the Hindu Vididnya Parishad, a lawyer’s body, was active in providing legal support to Sanatan Sanstha activists and other Hindutva activists accused in different cases.
Sunil Ghanwat from HJS said, “It appears that some CBI officers are against Hinduism and have targeted someone like Punalekar, who has helped people irrespective of their caste and religion. Even during the Azad Maidan riots, in which police and media personnel were attacked, it was Punalekar who was among the first few to approach the courts.”
He added that while the CBI has claimed that one of the accused, Sharad Kalaskar — an accused arrested in the case — had given a statement several months ago, why did the CBI wait for so long to arrest Punalekar.
“If advocates are arrested for advising their clients, all advocates will end up behind bars,” Ghanwat said.
I Khandelwal, national president of Lashkar-E-Hind, alleged, “Punalekar had complained against a CBI officer in the past and may be that is the reason he has been arrested in the case.”
A CBI spokesperson said they would not respond to such allegations.
Dabholkar (67) was shot dead by two assailants at the Omkareshwar bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013. The CBI had alleged that Punalekar had instructed Kalaskar to dismantle a set of firearms, including the one used in Dabholkar’s murder.