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Dabholkar murder: CBI arrests lawyer, bomb blast convict linked to Sanatan Sanstha

Punalekar, an office bearer of the Hindu Vididnya Parishad, a lawyer's body, was active in providing legal support to Sanatan Sanstha activists and other Hindutva activists accused in different cases.

A senior CBI officer confirmed that Punalekar and Bhave have been arrested in Dabholkar murder case and the duo would be produced before the special court in Pune on Sunday.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested two more activists of the Sanatan Sanstha including advocate Sanjiv Punalekar and Vikram Bhave in connection with the murder of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in Pune.

Punalekar, an office bearer of the Hindu Vididnya Parishad, a lawyer’s body, was active in providing legal support to Sanatan Sanstha activists and other Hindutva activists accused in different cases. Bhave, a Sanatan Sanstha member, is a convict in the case of blasts at theatres and auditorium in Thane in 2008, who was later released on bail by the Bombay High Court in 2013.

A senior CBI officer confirmed that Punalekar and Bhave have been arrested in Dabholkar murder case and the duo would be produced before the special court in Pune on Sunday. With this, the number of arrests in this case has reached eight.

In June 2016, the CBI had first arrested ENT surgeon and Sanatan Sanstha member Dr Virendra Tawde, as the alleged mastermind of the conspiracy to kill Dabholkar. It is charge sheet against Tawade CBI had mentioned that Sanatan Sanstha activists Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar had shot dead Dabholkar.

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But later CBI has claimed that arrested accused Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar had opened fire at Dabholkar on August 20, 2013, when he was on a morning walk in Pune.

During further investigation, the CBI had also taken took custody of 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 was a key conspirator in the Dabholkar murder case while Bangera allegedly gave firearms training to Andure and Kalaskar. According to the CBI, most of the accused persons in this case have links to either the Sanatan Sanstha or its affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.