Narendra Dabholkar
Narendra Dabholkar

Mumbai: A city court on Monday granted the custody of arms haul accused Sharad Kalaskar to the CBI for probing his alleged role in the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. Kalaskar was arrested last month by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in connection with the seizure of arms and ammunition from different parts of the state.

Kalaskar and three other accused in the arms haul case — Vaibhav Raut, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar and Shrikant Pangarkar — were produced before Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Padalkar after their police remand ended. The judge, responding to an application filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), allowed the agency to take the custody of Kalaskar in the Dabholkar killing case.

The CBI had sought Kalaskar’s custody on the ground that his custodial interrogation is required to ascertain his alleged role in the Dabholkar killing case. The agency also needs to find his “incriminating” link with Sachin Andure, the alleged main shooter arrested last month, the CBI had said in its application. It came to light during Andure’s interrogation that Kalaskar was the second shooter and had fired two bullets at Dabholkar, the CBI said.

The 67-year-old anti-superstition crusader was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne men while he was on a morning walk on the Onkareshwar Bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013. Kalaskar’s alleged role in Dabholkar’s killing came to light during his interrogation by the ATS in the arms seizure case. The ATS passed on the relevant information to the CBI, which is probing Dabholkar’s killing since 2014.

The ATS had earlier claimed the arms haul accused were suspected right-wing activists who were planning to trigger blasts at various places in Maharashtra.

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