Two held in Dabholkar case remanded in police custody

Mubarak Ansari
Monday, 27 May 2019

he District Court on Sunday remanded Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjiv Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave, a convict in Thane bomb blast case, in police custody till June 1 in connection with the Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder case.

Pune :  The District Court on Sunday remanded Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjiv Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave, a convict in Thane bomb blast case, in police custody till June 1 in connection with the Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested the duo in Mumbai on Saturday. Additional Superintendent of Police SR Singh, who is investigating the case, produced the duo before the court of Additional Sessions Judge SN Sonawane. There was heavy police bandobast on the court premises. 
 
Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi submitted to the court that Punalekar advised the shooter Sharad Kalaskar to destroy the weapon after the murder, while Bhave had recced the place where Dabholkar was shot dead. 

“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,” Suryavanshi said about Bhave’s role. 

Talking about Punalekar, he added, “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.”

Punalekar, a member of the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, a lawyer’s body, has been providing legal assistance to several Sanatan Sanstha members and other accused in many other cases.  Bhave, a Sanatan Sanstha member, is a convict in the case of blasts on the premises of some theatres and auditorium in Thane in 2008, who was later released on bail by the Bombay High Court in 2013. After being released, Bhave had been assisting Punalekar in his legal work. 

Argument by defence lawyer
Defence lawyer Virendra Ichalkanjikar argued that the CBI has arrested the duo based on a statement given by Kalaskar to 
Karnataka police in investigation of Gauri Lankesh murder case. 

“Kalaskar later retracted his statement. Now seven months after that statement, the CBI has arrested Punalekar and Bhave, which is illogical. In a chargesheet filed in 2016, CBI had claimed that Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar were shooters of Dabholkar. But in 2018 chargesheet they claimed that Andure and Kalaskar are the shooters. So which chargesheet should be believed?,” he argued. 

Punalekar also argued his case and  sought permission to allow two lawyers to meet him and Bhave on daily basis to discuss the case, which was allowed by the court.

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