District court extends police custody of Punalekar, Bhave

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 2 June 2019

The District Court on Saturday extended the police custody of Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjiv Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave, a convict in Thane bomb blast case, till June 4 in connection with the Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder case.

Pune: The District Court on Saturday extended the police custody of Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjiv Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave, a convict in Thane bomb blast case, till June 4 in connection with the Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder case.
 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested the duo in Mumbai on May 25. After the expiry of their custody on Saturday, the duo were produced before the court of Additional Sessions Judge AV Rotte.

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi submitted to the court that CBI has seized  Punalekar’s phone and two laptops, which has been sent to forensic lab for analysis. “Both accused are not co-operating with the agency. The bike used in the crime is yet to be recovered, hence further custody is required,” he argued and asked for 14-day extension in custody.

Defence lawyers Subhash Jha and Ganesh Upadhyay argued that the arrest is illegal. “They have been arrested based on the statement of an accused in another case. Also, the discussion between a lawyer and his client cannot be the basis for arrest,” they argued.
 
However, CBI submitted that Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure had fired at Dabholkar on the Omkareshwar bridge. About 15 days before the murder, Bhave had driven triple seat with Kalaskar and Andure on a bike and shown them the area around the bridge and how to escape from there. In June 2018, Kalaskar met Punalekar in the presence of Bhave. Kalaskar told him about his role in Dabholkar murder case. Punalekar asked him to destroy the weapon, following which Kalaskar dismantled four pistols and threw them from a bridge on Thane Creek on July 23, 2018.

Suryavanshi argued in the court that Punalekar gave the advice to destroy the weapon used in the murder, which is a crime. 
After hearing both sides, the judge extended the police custody of Punalekar and Bhave till June 4.

On August 20, 2013, at about 7.20 am, two unidentified persons aged about 25 to 30 years, of medium height, had fired bullets and killed rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), while he was walking on footpath of Omkareshwar Bridge behind Balgandharva Rangmandir. The assassins then fled on a motorcycle. 

‘Accused not co-operating with CBI’
n Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi submitted to the court that CBI has seized  Punalekar’s phone and two laptops, which has been sent to forensic lab for analysis. “Both accused are not co-operating with the agency. The bike used in the crime is yet to be recovered, hence further custody is required,” he argued and asked for 14-day extension in custody.

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