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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Pune court grants 90 days extension to file chargesheet against Bhave in Dabholkar case

Decision was made based on an application requesting extension filed by the CBI on August 20

pune Updated: Aug 23, 2019 16:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
A Pune court granted an extension of 90 days to the CBI on Thursday to file the chargesheet against Vikram Bhave in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
A Pune court granted an extension of 90 days to the CBI on Thursday to file the chargesheet against Vikram Bhave in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.(HT FILE)
         

A Pune court granted an extension of 90 days to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday to file the chargesheet against Vikram Bhave in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

The decision was made based on an application requesting extension filed by the CBI on August 20 in the court of additional sessions judge Ravindra N Pande. 

Vikram Bhave was arrested along with advocate Sanjeev Punalekar by CBI officials from Mumbai on May 25. Punalekar was granted bail in the case on July 5 by the same court.

The extension was granted days after judge Pande had rejected Bhave’s bail application in the case on August 17. Bhave is currently in judicial custody.

August 23 marks the completion of 90 days since their arrest which could have meant the end of his judicial custody. However, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which was invoked in the case, allowed the CBI to get an extension in filing of the chargesheet.

While the CBI was represented by special public prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi, Bhave was represented by advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar.

Bhave and Punalekar were arrested based on an alleged confessional statement made by Sharad Kalaskar to the Karnataka special investigation team (SIT) probing the Gauri Lankesh murder. Kalaskar, who is under investigation in multiple murders, is named in an earlier CBI chargesheet as one of the two alleged shooters who killed Dabholkar at 7:30am on August 20, 2013, at the Omkareshwar bridge. 

According to Kalaskar’s statement, Bhave had helped him and the other shooter to conduct a recee of the place and decide the entry and escape route for the murder. Punalekar, on the other hand, had advised Kalaskar to dismantle and dispose weapons used in the Dabholkar and other murders. Accordingly, Kalaskar had disposed parts of multiple weapons in the Thane creek in 2018. 

The CBI has now hired the services of an international company in order to fish out the parts of the weapons from the creek. “The site would be inspected and construction of a ramp will start. After the ramp is functioning, then, the actual work of finding out the arms thrown into the creek will commence. For the work to be completed, it is stated that 30 days from the date of the ramp becoming operational and functional would be required,” read a Bombay High Court order in the matter dated August 9. 

The HC order was issued on August 9 during the joint hearing of applications made by family members of Dabholkar and Govind Pansare against the CBI and State of Maharashtra along with a public interest litigation filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar against CBI.

‘Bhave was one of the active members in Dabholkar murder case’

Special judge Ravindra Pandey in his order which rejected the bail application of Sanatan Sanstha member Vikram Bhave has stated that the main evidence against the accused is the confessional statement of Sharad Kalaskar, , who has been named in a CBI chargesheet as one of the two shooters who killed Dabholkar, under Section 19 of MCOCA Act when he was in the Karnataka police custody.

“Perusal of the said statement of Kalaskar would describe the role played by Bhave . It appears that the accused accompanied the other accused and did a recce of the place of incident. How to go to the incident spot and escape from there, was also well planned before the incident. It appears from the confessional statement that the applicant was one of the active members in the total conspiracy which appears to have been hatched for murdering Dabholkar, ” the order stated.

Bhave was arrested along with advocate Sanjeev Punalekar in connection with the murder case. Advocate Punalekar has been released on bail, however, Bhave’s bail plea was rejected on August 17.

First Published: Aug 22, 2019 20:57 IST