The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday told the Bombay High Court that it will file the chargesheet against two accused – advocate Sanjeev Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave – in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case within a month, PTI reported.
Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013. The CBI had arrested Punalekar, who had represented some of the other accused in the case, and Bhave on May 25. They were granted bail in July. Six other people, including Sanatan Sanstha member and ENT surgeon Virendrasinh Tawde, and suspected shooters Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, have been arrested in connection with the case.
Punalekar is accused of helping Kalaskar destroy the gun that was used in the killing, while Bhave is accused of helping him conduct reconnaissance of the area where the rationalist was shot dead. They are both reportedly members of the Sanatan Sanstha.
The CBI counsel told a division bench of the High Court that the search operation for weapons used in the murder was still on and will be completed in four weeks. “Soon after that the charge sheet will be filed,” CBI’s counsel Anil Singh said. The CBI was responding to petitions filed by the families of Dabholkar and Govind Pansare seeking the court’s supervision in the investigation.
Pansare, also an activist, was shot on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur. He died four days later. This case is being investigated by the special investigation team of the state Criminal Investigation Department.
Advocate Abhay Nevagi, who is representing Pansare’s family, sought a change in the investigating agency. “The present agency [CID] has carried out a shabby investigation,” Nevagi said. “The concerned officers have sat on key material available with them since over a year.”
The division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel said they cannot consider oral requests and directed them to file an application. The court will next hear the matter on November 22.