A Magistrate court in Pune on Monday raised questions over the progress in the investigation by the CBI into the role played by two accused in the Gauri Lankesh case in the conspiracy to murder anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar. The court also refused to extend the CBI custody of the two and remanded them in judicial custody.
On Monday, Amit Digwekar and Rajesh Bangera, earlier arrested by Karnataka Police’s Special Investigation Team in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, and Sharad Kalaskar, arrested by the Maharashtra ATS in connection with the Nallasopara arms and explosives haul case, were produced by the CBI in the Pune court, seeking extension of their custodial remand.
Kalaskar, who according to the CBI is one of the two shooters in the Dabholkar murder case, was further remanded in CBI custody till September 15. But the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) S M A Sayyed refused to extend the custody of Digwekar and Bangera.
While Dabholkar (67), a noted anti-superstition activist, was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Lankesh, who was a Bengaluru-based journalist, was shot dead at her house on September 5, 2017. In the Dabholkar case, the CBI has till now arrested six persons.
Dr Virendra Tawde, an ENT surgeon and member of Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested in June 2016 and named as the mastermind by the CBI. One more person, Amol Kale, the key conspirator in the Lankesh murder case, has been named by the CBI as a conspirator in the Dabholkar murder also. Kalaskar and Sachin Andure, both from Aurangabad, have been named as the shooters; and Digwekar and Bangera have been named as persons involved in the plot.
Seeking extension of the custodial remand of Digwekar and Bangera, CBI prosecutor Vijaykumar Dhakne said that
Digwekar played a role in hatching the conspiracy and Bangera was a weapons trainer. But after going through the remand application filed by the CBI and the case diary of the investigation, judge Sayyed observed that there has been little progress in the probe.
Defence lawyer Dharma Raj Chandel argued that in spite of the two accused cooperating with the investigation, the probe has not progressed in the 10 days of police custody and that the CBI told the same things in court that they had said 10 days ago.
The court, however, accepted the CBI plea for Kalaskar’s further custody and extended his remand till September 15. The CBI had told the court that Bangera had trained the shooters in the case at six different locations in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Digwekar and Bangera will be lodged in Yerawada central jail and will be taken back to judicial custody in Karnataka, from where the CBI had taken their remand.