The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Sunday submitted before the special court in Pune that they interrogated lawyer Sanjiv Punalekar, an accused in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, in connection with the information recovered from his laptops. The CBI claimed that Punalekar’s “interrogation has yielded some information relevant to this case” while asking the court that he should be sent to judicial custody.
The court remanded Punalekar to judicial custody till July 6. Meanwhile, the court said it will hear the bail application filed by Punalekar on June 25.
Punalekar and his aide, Sanatan Sanstha seeker Vikram Bhave, were arrested by the CBI in the Dabholkar murder case on May 25. He was in the CBI’s custody till June 4.
Dabholkar was shot dead during his morning walk in Pune on August 20, 2013. His alleged shooters — Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure — are both under arrest.
Punalekar has been accused of advising Kalaskar on how to dismantle the firearm used in the murder. According to the CBI, Kalaskar, who is also an accused in the 2017 murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, had followed the lawyer’s advice and dumped four pistols, including the one used to kill Lankesh, in the Thane creek.
Meanwhile, Punalekar filed an application seeking bail, which was opposed by the CBI. The agency had on June 17 argued that Punalekar crossed his limits as a lawyer while allegedly advising his client Kalaskar to dismantle the firearms used for shooting at Dabholkar.
While the arguments on Punalekar’s bail application were yet to conclude, on June 19, the CBI filed an application before the court seeking his custody for investigation into data retrieved from his laptops.
On June 20, the CBI argued that custodial interrogation of Punalekar was required for probing a folder named ‘Dabholkar’ as well as an “incriminating letter” retrieved from his laptops seized on May 27.