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Dabholkar murder case: Court denies CBI further custody of lawyer, aide


Mumbai, June 04: A court here on Tuesday turned down a CBI request seeking further custody of advocate Sanjeev Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave, arrested in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case, and sent them to judicial custody for 14 days.

File photo of Dabholkar

The agency did not present any fresh grounds for seeking their custody, the court said.

Punalekar, who had represented some of the accused in the Dabholkar murder case of 2013, and Bhave were arrested on May 25 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the same case.

Seeking further custody of the duo, Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryawanshi said the CBI had recovered some crucial data, including names and contact numbers, from Punalekar's laptop and mobile phone, and it wanted to interrogate him further based on these leads.

The "Forensic Psychology Assessment" and "Forensic Statement Assessment" tests of Punalekar indicated that he was deceptive, the prosecutor claimed.

Punalekar and Bhave were in CBI's custody for 11 days.

Additional Sessions Judge R M Pande rejected the central probe agency's request for further remand and sent the two accused to judicial custody.

The judge, in the written order, said the grounds cited while asking for further custody were not "satisfactory".

"I have gone through the earlier remand reports...on the same grounds, the police (CBI) custody was granted and thereafter, on the same grounds, it was extended," he said.

Sufficient CBI custody had already been granted, the order said.

Dabholkar, a well-known anti-superstition activist, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013.

According to the CBI, which has arrested some persons connected to right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha in the case, Punalekar had advised one of the alleged shooters to destroy the weapons.

Some of the accused in the case are also linked to the 2015 murder of communist leader Govind Pansare and the 2017 murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, investigating agencies have claimed.


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