A court in Pune on Friday granted bail to Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, an accused in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case, on a surety amount of Rs 30,000, ANI reported. Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013.

Additional Sessions Court judge RM Pande said Punalekar has to be present before the Central Bureau of Investigation every week on Monday and Tuesday. “He will not be allowed to travel abroad and prior permission needs to be taken for doing the same. Whenever needed, the CBI can call him to their office for investigation purpose and he will have to be present there.”

On June 20, the court had granted the Central Bureau of Investigation custody of Punalekar till June 23. Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryawanshi had said that Punalekar needs to be interrogated about documents recovered from his laptop. “It includes an incriminating letter from Punalekar mentioning the court proceedings of Nalasopara explosives [seizure] case, passing some observations about the judge,” he had told the court. “The same letter also mentions one “Sadguru”. The CBI said it has to interrogate the accused as to who was the person, whom he was reporting to, who was his handler and to know the higher-level person in the organisation.

The CBI had also said it found a letter dated September 17, 2012, written by Punalekar to Dabholkar, which showed that the accused hated the anti-superstition activist even back then.

Later the probe agency told the court it does not require any further custody of Punalekar after which he was sent to the judicial remand till July 6.

Punalekar, who is reportedly an office-bearer of the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, had represented some of the accused in the case.

Investigation so far

On June 14, the CBI and the Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department had told the Bombay High Court that they have established some commonality between the murders of rationalists Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. In March, the Bombay High Court had pulled up the Maharashtra government for its alleged laxity in pursuing the two cases. It had wondered whether Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was too busy to enquire about the investigations into the killings.

During the hearing on June 14, the CBI had told the division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel that all accused in the Dabholkar case have been arrested, but the weapons used in the crime were yet to be recovered. So far, six people, including Sanatan Sanstha member and ENT surgeon Virendrasinh Tawde, and suspected shooters Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, have been arrested in the Dabholkar murder case.

On June 4, the CBI told a special court in Pune that Punalekar and his assistant arrested in connection with the murder have not been cooperating with the inquiry.