PUNE: Amit Degvekar, an accused in the killings of scribe Gauri Lankesh and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, was present at a firing training in Karnataka where the conspiracy to kill them and communist leader Govind Pansare was suspected to be hatched, investigators told a court in Kolhapur Tuesday.
While seeking Degvekar's custody in the Pansare murder case, public prosecutor Shivajirao Rane told the court that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) wanted to find out his exact role in the entire murder conspiracy.
He was produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate (first class) G G Soni and remanded in police custody till January 23.
Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur.
He succumbed to his injuries a few days later on February 20.
The public prosecutor told the court the probe has revealed that Degvekar had gone to the weapon training spot in Karnataka's Belgavi district with four air guns, and remained present there during the exercise.
It is suspected that the conspiracy to kill Dabholkar, Pansare and Lankesh was hatched there, he said.
Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune while on his morning walk.
Lankesh was killed outside her residence in Bengaluru in September 2017.
"Degvekar was in a constant touch with Dr Virendra Sinh Tawde and Sarang Akolkar (both accused in the Dabholkar murder case). He was involved in the murder conspiracy of Pansare," Rane said.
In December last year, a Pune court had granted bail to Degvekar and two other accused, Amol Kale and Rajesh Bangera, in the Dabholkar murder case.
The CBI and the state CID are probing the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, respectively.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Tawde of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), an alleged offshoot of right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, as the conspirator in the killing of Dabholkar.
It had identified Akolkar and Vinay Pawar as the assailants, who had fired bullets at Dabholkar.
The CBI had told a court in Pune that killings of Lankesh and Dabholkar were linked.