A sessions court in Pune on Friday granted bail to three accused in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, as the Central Bureau of Investigation failed to file a chargesheet against them within 90 days. The accused are Amol Kale, Rajesh Bangera and Amit Degvekar, ANI reported.

Bangera and Degvekar are in judicial custody with a special investigation team inquiring into the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. Kale is in the custody of a team probing the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare.

The accused in the Dabholkar case had filed a bail plea on Thursday saying that the CBI had not sought additional time from the court to file a supplementary chargesheet against them under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. A chargesheet under the Act has to be filed within 90 days of arrest.

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. Last month, the CBI filed terror charges against the accused. The same year, Pansare was attacked by two unidentified gunmen on his way home from a morning walk in Kolhapur in 2015. Lankesh was shot dead in her home in Bengaluru in 2017.

On December 11, the Supreme Court said any one investigating agency can probe if there is a “common thread” between the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare, activist MM Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh. The top court asked the CBI to inform it by the first week of January why it should not investigate all the four cases if there appears to be a link among all the murders.