MUMBAI: The CBI on Monday got the custody of Sharad Kalsekar, an accused in the Nalasopara arms haul case, for probing his alleged role in the assassination of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
The sessions court in Mumbai that had earlier rejected the CBI's plea to hand over Kalaskar's custody on August 29, granted the custody to the federal agency. Kalaskar is likely to be produced before the Pune court where the Dabholkar case is being heard.
The Pune sessions court had sent two other accused, Rajesh Bangera and Amit Degwekar, to the CBI custody On Saturday.
Another accused, former Shiv Sena Corporator Shrikant Pangarkar, is still in the custody of the ATS. The CBI is likely to seek his custody also.
While Pangarkar allegedly arranged training of the other accused of the Nalasopara arms haul, namely Vaibhav Raut and Sudhanva Gondhalekar, he was also allegedly in touch with the accused in the murder of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The court also sent Raut and Gondhalekar to judicial custody on Monday.
Kalaskar had told the Maharashtra ATS that he had planned to hurl a bomb at a music festival in Pune. During the hearing for extension of his custody, the ATS had informed this to the court following which the CBI had sought his custody.
Meanwhile, a senior ATS official said they suspect that Satara in Western Maharashtra might have been the centre of activities of the Hindu hardliner activists such as those arrested in the Nalasopara case.
During interrogation of Kalaskar, the ATS learnt that the plan to attack the Western Music Concert - Sunburn Festival at Pune was hatched at Kalaskar's rented residence at Satara. They also suspect that the blasts at cinema houses, including the one at Vashi in Navi Mumbai, were planned at the same place.
Kalaskar, who had left home under the pretext of studies, used to stay at a rented accommodation at Kodoli village near Satara. Several meetings of the Hindu hardliner activists were held at the place while he was staying there, a senior ATS official said.
Another accused, Gondhalekar, who was arrested from Pune, is also from Satara. He too was involved in the plan to make a blast at Sunburn Festival. Kalaskar and Gondhalekar had plans to hurl crude bombs at the concert, which was later cancelled due to opposition from politicians and local citizens, the official said. They are now trying to ascertain whether there were anybody else involved in the plan.
The ATS has also seized six vehicles, including a bike, in the past few days. It is trying to ascertain whether it was the same bike used in Dabholkar and Lankesh murders. The ATS also recovered maps of several places, including Jalgaon, from the accused. The police is curious about the reason for collecting these maps, an officer said.