Pune, Aug 30: The CBI, which is probing rationalist Narendra Dabholkar's murder case, told a court here that it would be taking custody of three men arrested by Karnataka police in the Gauri Lankesh murder case. The CBI had earlier said there was a link between the accused in the two cases.
The Pune court extended till September 1 the police custody of Sachin Andure, one of the alleged shooters who killed Dabholkar. The Central Bureau of Investigation told the court that it wants to interrogate Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, the alleged second shooter, together.
Kalaskar was arrested by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) earlier this month in an explosives seizure case. As Kalaskar is in ATS's custody till September 3, the CBI wants to take Andure to ATS's office where both can be questioned together, said CBI lawyer Vijay Kumar Dhakne, seeking extension of custody. Further, three accused in journalist Gauri Lankesh murder case -- Amol Kale, Amit Digvekar and Rajesh Bangera -- will be produced before the Pune court in the Dabholkar murder case on Friday, the prosecutor said.
"A CBI team is in Bengaluru and completing court procedure to get their custody (from Karnataka police) in the Dabholkar case," said Dhakne. The central agency had claimed earlier that one of the accused in the Lankesh case had handed over a country-made pistol, three bullets and a magazine to Andure. Andure gave it to his brother-in-law Shubham Surle, a resident of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, on August 11 this year, and Surle handed it to his friend Rohit Rege, as per the CBI.
The pistol was suspected to have been used in the Lankesh murder, an agency source said. Meanwhile, defence lawyer opposed extension of Andure's custody, arguing that the CBI has not made any progress in Dabholkar case, and if it wanted to bring Andure and Kalaskar face to face, it should have done so earlier.
Judicial Magistrate S N A Sayyad however agreed to the agency's request and extended Andure's custody. A court in Mumbai yesterday rejected the CBI's plea seeking the custody of Sharad Kalaskar in Dabholkar case. The court had said he cannot be handed over while in ATS custody.
Acting on a tip-off from the ATS following the arrest of Kalaskar, the CBI arrested Sachin Andure, a resident of Aurangabad district, on August 18, in the Dabholkar case. Dabholkar was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne assailants in Pune on August 20, 2013.