Narendra Dabholkar
Narendra Dabholkar

Mumbai: A Mumbai court today rejected CBI’s plea seeking the custody of Sharad Kalaskar, one of the accused arrested by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in connection with the seizure of explosives and arms earlier this month. The central agency yesterday sought Kalaskar’s custody to question him in connection with the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in August 2013.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Padalkar rejected CBI’s plea, saying the court cannot send Kalaskar in its custody as he is in another agency’s remand. The court also held that the CBI failed to provide any legal provision for seeking Kalaskar’s custody.

In its application, the CBI said it needs to bring Kalaskar face to face with Sachin Andure, the alleged main shooter in Dabholkar murder case, to determine his role in the killing. Kalaskar is one of five right-wing activists arrested by the ATS in the explosives seizure case. They were allegedly hatching a conspiracy to trigger blasts in the state.

On August 10, the ATS had arrested Raut (40), who ran the “Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti”, a little-known cow protection outfit, at Nallasopara in adjoining Palghar district. After Raut’s arrest, the ATS had arrested three more activists – Sharad Kalaskar (25), Sudhanva Gondhalekar (39) and Shrikant Pangarkar – following raids in Palghar, Pune and Jalna districts.

Last Saturday, the ATS arrested Avinash Pawar from Ghatkopar in Mumbai in connection with the explosives case.

The ATS seized a cache of arms and ammunition from different parts of the state between August 9 and 11. It claimed to have recovered 20 crude bombs, two gelatin sticks, four electronic and 22 non-electronic detonators, 150 gm explosive powder and some other materials.

Acting on a tip-off from the ATS following the arrest of Kalaskar and other accused, the CBI arrested Sachin Andure, a resident of Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district, on August 18.

One of the arrested accused gave the input about Andure’s involvement in Dabholkar’s killing, which the ATS shared with the CBI. He is believed to be one of the shooters who fired at Dabholkar at Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013.

In June 2016, the CBI filed a charge sheet against Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendra Tawdeunder sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the IPC, among other charges. Tawde was allegedly the mastermind of the killing, the CBI had said.

The Bombay High Court in May 2014 handed over the Dabholkar murder case to the CBI. Dabholkar’s and communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare’s killing in a similar manner in February 2015 had sent shockwaves through the state.

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