Narendra Dabholkar murder case: CBI files supplementary chargesheet against accused Sanjeev Punalekar and Vikram Bhave

  • CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet against accused Sanjeev Punalekar, Vikram Bhave in the 2013 murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar

  • The CBI filed the supplementary chargesheet in the court presiding over a special court set up under the UAPA

  • Till now, chargesheet has been filed against five accused in the high-profile murder case suspected to be the handiwork of right-wing activists

Pune:  The CBI on Wednesday filed a supplementary chargesheet against accused Sanjeev Punalekar and Vikram Bhave in the 2013 murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. While Bhave is in Yerawada jail here under judicial custody, Punalekar, a lawyer by profession, is out on bail.

The CBI, through its special public prosecutor Prakash Suryawanshi, filed the supplementary chargesheet in the court of assistant sessions judge SR Navandar, presiding over a special court set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

 Narendra Dabholkar murder case: CBI files supplementary chargesheet against accused Sanjeev Punalekar and Vikram Bhave

File image of Narendra Dabholkar. AP

Till now, chargesheet has been filed against five accused in the high-profile murder case suspected to be the handiwork of right-wing activists. Punalekar and his assistant Bhave were arrested by the CBI on 25 May. In July, Punalekar was released on bail.

Punalekar is accused of advising Sharad Kalaskar, one of the two alleged motorcycle-borne assailants who gunned down Dabholkar here on 20 August 2013, to destroy the weapons used in the crime.

According to the CBI, Bhave helped the two alleged shooters, Sachin Andure and Kalaskar, in conducting a survey of the spot on the Onkareshwar bridge where the well-known anti-superstition activist was shot dead while on a morning walk.

Bhave is also accused of helping the gunmen escape from the murder spot and assisting them to abandon the motorcycle used in the crime. According to the CBI, Bhave was also present when Punalekar had advised Kalaskar to destroy the firearms in his Mumbai office.

According to CBI sources, the "forensic psychological analysis statement" of Punalekar and Kalaskar's confession before the Karnataka Police (in Gauri Lankesh murder case), in which he admitted that Punalekar had asked him to destroy the firearms, have been made a part of the charge sheet.

The CBI had conducted a similar test on Kalaskar. Unlike narco-analysis, no consent is required to conduct forensic psychological test on an accused. A source in the central agency said such tests are done to ascertain whether investigation in a case is on the right track or not.

In the past, Punalekar had represented members of the Sanatan Sanstha, a Goa-headquartered right-wing group, and other activists in courts in various cases. In February, the CBI had filed a second supplementary charge sheet against Andure and Kalaskar.

According to the CBI, Kalaskar had dismantled the firearms used in the crime and thrown them in a creek in Thane adjoining Mumbai. A CBI official on Wednesday said the operation to recover the firearms from the creek was going on.

The agency has hired the services of a foreign agency to search and recover the firearms, a key piece of evidence, he said. The central agency's first charge sheet in the case had named Virendra Tawde, an ENT doctor who was arrested in June 2016 from his residence in Panvel, Navi Mumbai. The CBI had dubbed Tawde as one of the conspirators in Dabholkar's murder.

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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2019 15:00:06 IST