The CBI won’t get custody of Sharad Kalaskar immediately to confront him with Sachin Andure, the two alleged shooters in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday rejected the CBI’s plea to hand over Kalaskar’s custody to the agency, which is probing the Dabholkar murder case, from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Special Judge V S Padalkar questioned as to why the CBI had not sought the custody of Kalaskar earlier even though a production warrant was issued by the Pune court on August 23.
The ATS arrested Kalaskar on August 10 and his custody was extended till September 3 on Tuesday with the ATS submitting that he had planned to hurl a bomb at a music festival in Pune. After the hearing, however, the CBI filed an application, seeking his custody. The CBI claimed that Andure, who is in the agency’s custody till August 30, and Kalaskar were together when Dabholkar was murdered, so the two accused have to be brought face to face.
The CBI submitted before the court that there was an “extreme necessity” to confront the two accused. The agency also said that if Kalaskar’s custody was not handed over to them, it would be the end of investigation and justice in the case. The court said that there was no legal provision for such a handover when the accused was in police custody.
“There is no explanation given by the CBI to disclose what the agency had done after getting transfer production warrant letter from JMFC court Pune during five days,” the court said.
The ATS, which had denied the handover initially claiming that its investigation was at a crucial stage, had later agreed for Kalaskar to be taken to Pune, stating that it was entitled to take his custody later. “Surprisingly, ATS officer has given no objection but it has no legal force under legal procedure. If the ATS, Mumbai, had an intention to hand over custody of Kalaskar to the CBI then the ATS should not have opted for further police custody,” the court said.
The CBI can seek Kalaskar’s custody once his police custody ends.