The Central Bureau of Investigation has invoked charges pertaining to terrorist acts in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar five years ago, reported The Indian Express. The agency submitted its probe report to a Pune court on Monday and invoked Sections 15 and 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the accused.
Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune, when he was out on a morning walk. So far, the CBI has arrested six persons in connection with the murder.
Investigating officer Additional Superintendent of Police SR Singh submitted the report in the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) SMA Sayyed. Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act defines a “terrorist act”, and Section 16 punishes the accused with life imprisonment or the death sentence if the “act” results in a murder.
“The central probing agency told the court that it has invoked Sections 15 and 16 [acts of terror] of the Unlawful Activities [Prevention] Act against the accused persons,” public prosecutor Vijaykumar Dhakane told PTI.
Last month, the CBI had informed the Bombay High Court that it would file a chargesheet by November 18. A chargesheet should be filed within 90 days after the date of arrest in cases pertaining to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, after which the investigating agency can seek an additional 90 days to do so.
“Now, since the UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act] sections have been invoked, the CBI will get an extension of another 90 days to file the chargesheet against the accused,” said Dhakane.
The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru in 2017 was linked to Dabholkar’s, the CBI has said. So far, the CBI has arrested the prime accused in the Lankesh murder case, Amol Kale, as well as Sachin Andure, one of the two persons suspected to have shot Dabholkar. Others arrested include Hindutva activist Sharad Kalaskar, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendrasinh Tawde, Rajesh Bangera and Amit Digvekar.
According to the CBI, Andure and Kalaskar allegedly shot dead Dabholkar, while Tawde was the “mastermind”. Bangera and Kale are also accused in Lankesh’s murder case.