MUMBAI: A sessions court on Sunday remanded two men in CBI custody until June 1 in connection with the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013.
Advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, who had represented some of the accused in the case, had asked one of the alleged shooters to destroy the weapons used in the murder, while Vikram Bhave had helped them carry out reconnaissance before the crime, the CBI said.
Punalekar and Bhave were arrested in Mumbai on Saturday. Bhave, a member of the right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, has earlier been convicted in a case related to a blast at an auditorium in Thane.
The CBI said he worked as Punalekar’s assistant in his office.
The two were produced before additional sessions judge S N Sonawane on Sunday.
“The agency needed time to probe the specific nature of the duo’s roles in the conspiracy to kill rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and the aid given to Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, the two sharpshooters in destroying the evidence,” agency counsel Prakash Suryavanshi argued before the special court.
The prosecution told the court while seeking remand that Bhave had helped Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure, the alleged shooters, to reconnoitre the spot, and helped them escape after the crime.
He also took the motorcycle they had used during the crime and left it at an abandoned place, it said.
As to advocate Punalekar’s role, the agency said that in June 2018, Kalaskar had visited the lawyer’s office in Mumbai and told him about his role in Dabholkar’s murder.
“Punalekar then told Kalaskar to destroy the firearms used in the murder cases, including the journalist Gauri Lankesh murder case,” said special prosecutor Prakash Suryawanshi.
According to the agency, the murders of Dabholkar, communist leader Govind Pansare (in Kolhapur in February 2015) and Lankesh (in Bengaluru in September 2017) are linked.