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  Metros   Mumbai  26 May 2019  Lawyer held in Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder

Lawyer held in Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder

Published : May 26, 2019, 4:27 am IST
Updated : May 26, 2019, 4:27 am IST

Advocate Punalekar represented the controversial group Sanathan Sanstha in several cases.

Dr Narendra Dabholkar
 Dr Narendra Dabholkar

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Sanatan Sanstha’s advocate and legal face Sanjeev Punalekar and Vikram Bhave, a Sadhak, from Mumbai on Saturday in connection with the murder case of 67-year-old rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.

The officials said the duo were part of the conspiracy and were also known to the shooters. The CBI officials said that the arrests were made from Mumbai after their respective roles cropped up in the investigation. Punalekar allegedly suggested the destruction of the weapons after the rationalist was shot dead and also destroyed evidence that would link the organisation with the murder. Bhave, on the other hand, is an accused in the two low-intensity explosions that were carried out in auditoriums in Thane and Vashi in 2008. The explosions were to oppose the staging of a play that allegedly depicted Hindu gods in a bad light. Bhave was sentenced 10 years’ imprisonment in connection with the blasts.

CBI officials said that after his release from prison on bail, Bhave started assisting Punale-kar and they acted together while destroying evidence in the Dabholkar murder case. It is suspected that Bhave, a Thane local, also played a pivotal role in identifying the rationalist for the shooters.

“Punalekar and Bhave will be produced before a court in Pune on Sunday. Their custody will be sought for further interrogation in the case. Nothing more can be shared at the moment,” said a CBI officer. Meanwhile, the Sanatan Sanstha issued a statement condemning the arrest of two of their men.

“The arrest of the National Secretary of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad Adv. Sanjiv Punalekar and RTI activist of Parishad Vikram Bhave by CBI in the case of the killing of Dr Narendra Dabholkar is strongly protested. To arrest Adv. Sanjiv Punalekar and Vikram Bhave when the pro-Hindutva Government is in power smacks of conspiracy behind such an action. The CBI has bowed before the demand of the progressives (sic),” a statement issued by the Sanatan Sanstha stated.

It further stated arresting Punalekar, who proved “the falsehood that saffron terror was behind the Malegaon explosion case and had filed several public interest litigations” was a serious matter.

“We feel that Adv. Sanjiv Punalekar who performs seva of society, the Nation and Dharma without any expectations is innocent. Many social activists, patriots, devout Hindu organisations and advocates have conveyed the support to Adv. Sanjiv Punalekar,” the statement said.

Dabholkar was shot dead on the morning of April 20, 2013, when he was out on a walk. In 2018, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) got a major breakthrough in the case after they established identities of the two shooters. While one of the shooters was from Pune and part of the terror ring that was busted by the ATS on August 11, the other was from Aurangabad.

The two shooters were Sudhanwa Gondhalekar (39), a native of Satara who had been staying in Pune’s Mitra Mandal Chowk in Parwati, for the past few years and Sachin Andhure, a resident of Aurangabad.

Gondhalekar was later grilled on the killing when he revealed the involvement of other accused in the case and the two-wheeler that was used to commit the crime.

Tags: dr narendra dabholkar, central bureau of investigation