A special court in Pune on Thursday granted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) a 90-day extension to file its chargesheet against Sanatan Sanstha member Vikram Bhave (34) in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case.
The special court of Additional Sessions Judge R M Pande had recently rejected the bail application moved by Bhave. Under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the CBI had moved an application in the court to grant the agency an extension of 90 days to file the chargesheet.
As per the provisions of the UAPA, the stipulated time period for filing a chargesheet in UAPA cases is 90 days after the date of arrest, and the investigating agency can seek a 90-day extension after that.
If the investigation agency fails to file a chargesheet against the suspect in the time period, he or she is granted a default bail.
In November last year, in a report submitted to a Pune court, the CBI had invoked UAPA’s Section 15, which defines a ‘terrorist act’, and Section 16, which states that if the act results in death, the punishment for the convict is either the death sentence or life imprisonment.
When contacted, Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi confirmed that the court had granted the CBI an extension of 90 days to file the chargesheet. During this period, Bhave will not be entitled to a default bail.
In May this year, Bhave was arrested along with Mumbai-based lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar (53) on charges of being part of the conspiracy to murder the rationalist.
These arrests were made based on a statement given by Sharad Kalaskar, one of the two alleged shooters of Dabholkar, to Karnataka Police in October last year during the murder probe of journalist Gauri Lankesh. Punalekar was granted bail on July 5 by the court.
Bhave, a Sanatan Sanstha member, is a convict in the 2008 Thane auditorium blasts case. He was released on bail by the Bombay High Court in 2013. Bhave had been assisting Punalekar in his legal work, sources said.