A sessions court in Mumbai on Wednesday refused to grant the Central Bureau of Investigation custody of Hindutva activist Sharad Kalaskar in connection with the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, PTI reported. The court asked the CBI to apply again once Kalaskar’s Anti-Terrorism Squad remand gets over on September 3.

The CBI on Sunday told a court in Pune that the murders of Dabholkar in 2013 and journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017 were linked. It also sought the custody of Kalaskar, who is one of three people accused of being part of a conspiracy to carry out blasts across Maharashtra. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had arrested him on August 10.

On Monday, Hindutva organisation Sanatan Sanstha distanced itself from all the people arrested so far in connection with the Dabholkar murder case and the Nalasopara arms case. “None of them have ever been a part of our organisation,” Sanathan Sanstha spokesperson Chetan Rajhans had said.

The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, an off-shoot of the Sanathan Sanstha, claimed the police have not “directly implicated” any of its followers. “It’s a witch hunt that began soon after Panvel and Thane bomb blast incidents in 2008. But the police has not named us in a single FIR or chargesheet,” Rajhans and Sunil Ghanwat of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti had said.