MUMBAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken Amol Kale, the prime accused in journalist Gauri Lankesh murder case, in its custody in connection with its probe in rationalist Narendra Dabholkar's murder case, an official said Thursday.
The CBI suspects that Kale is also the mastermind of Dabholkar's killing, he said.
Kale was arrested in May this year by the Karnataka Police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with Lankesh's killing.
He will be produced before a court in Maharashtra's Pune district Thursday, he said.
Dabholkar was killed in Pune on August 20, 2013, while Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence at Bengaluru in Karnataka on September 5, 2017.
The official claimed that during Kale's interrogation, his alleged role in Dabholkar's killing also came to light.
Kale and Sachin Andure, the alleged main shooter in Dabholkar's killing, had met in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district and also stayed there in a lodge, he said.
During his stay in Aurangabad, Kale gave a pistol to Andure and it was passed to the latter's brother-in-law Shubham Surale, the official said.
The pistol was found last month at Surale's friend Rohit Rege's residence in Aurangabad during raids by the CBI and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
The seized pistol was sent to a forensic science lab for analysis and the ballistic report is yet to be known, he said.
The CBI wants to interrogate Kale to find out about his alleged role in the Dabholkar case and in this connection, the probe agency Wednesday took his custody from a prison in Bengaluru, he said.
During the course of the investigation, the CBI is likely to confront Sharad Kalaskar, the other alleged shooter in the Dabholkar case, with Kale, and two others arrested in Lankesh's murder case -- Amit Digvekar and Rajesh Bangera, another official said.
The agency had claimed earlier that Digvekar and Bangera were also involved in the Dabholkar murder conspiracy.
It had arrested the duo in the Dabholkar case last week.
Kalaskar was arrested last month by the Maharashtra ATS in connection with an alleged conspiracy to carry out blasts in the state.
The ATS had claimed that during interrogation, Kalaskar revealed that he and Sachin Andure were involved in the Dabholkar murder, following which it tipped off the CBI which then arrested Andure.
The CBI took Kalaskar's custody from the ATS on Monday.