A special court in Pune Saturday rejected the bail application of Vikram Bhave, an accused in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case. Additional sessions judge R M Pande passed an order in this regard.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), arrested accused Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar had allegedly opened fire at Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, when he was on a morning walk on the V R Shinde bridge near Omkareshwar temple in Pune.
A team of CBI, which is investigating the case, had arrested Bhave along with lawyer Sanjiv Punalekar in May this year in connection with the Dabholkar murder.
While Punalekar was arrested on the basis of a statement given by Kalaskar that he allegedly played a role in destruction of weapon used for killing Dabholkar, according to the investigators Vikram Bhave, a convict in the Thane auditorium blast of 2008, who was later released on bail by the Bombay High Court in 2013, had helped the assailants in identification of Dabholkar at the spot.
Punalekar was granted by the court on July 5. Then, Bhave too applied for bail before the special court in Pune. Opposing the bail application, CBI’s counsel Prakash Suryawanshi had argued, “The investigation into this case revealed that prior to the murder of Narendra Dabholkar, Bhave rode two alleged shooters Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar on a bike. He helped them in doing the recce of the area, planned escape route after the execution and place of abandoning the vehicle. These actions make him part of the overall conspiracy.”
Suryawanshi also argued that Bhave was convicted in a case of bomb blasts and after coming out of the prison on bail, he has committed the crime of Dabholkar murder. Defence lawyers had argued that allegations of CBI are false. “The court today rejected Bhave’s bail application believing that there is a prima-facie case against him,” said Suryawanshi, while speaking to The Indian Express.
It may be recalled that on June 2016, the CBI had first arrested ENT surgeon and Sanatan Sanstha member Dr Virendra Tawde, alleging that he was the mastermind of the conspiracy to kill Dabholkar.
Then in the charge sheet against Tawade CBI had mentioned that Sanatan Sanstha activists Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar had shot dead Dabholkar. But later CBI named Andure and Kalaskar as people who opened fire at Dabholkar.
Besides, CBI had also arrested three others — Amol Kale, Amit Digwekar and Rajesh Bangera — who are also accused in the murder of Bengaluru-based journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh in September 2017.
The investigators have claimed that Kale, a resident of Pimpri Chinchwad area in Pune, was a key conspirator in the Dabholkar murder case while Bangera allegedly gave firearms training to Andure and Kalaskar.
The court however granted bail to all three as the CBI did not file chargesheet against them in the stipulated period of 90 days. They, however, continued to be in jail for their involvement in Lankesh murder case.
According to the CBI, most of the accused people in the case have links to either the Sanatan Sanstha or its affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.