The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that the trial in the 2013 case of killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar is likely to be completed in the next two to three months.
The CBI informed the court while opposing bail plea of one of the accused in the case, Virendrasinh Tawade, who had sought bail on the grounds of delay in the trial. He was arrested in the case in 2016.
The trial in the case began in October 2021
CBI counsel Sandesh Patil told a division bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and PD Naik that so far 15 witnesses have been examined by the trial court in Pune. "Only seven to eight witnesses are remaining. I have spoken with the special public prosecutor in the case there who said if the trial is expedited then it can be concluded in two to three months," said Patil.
On a court query whether any of the witnesses, already examined, had turned hostile in court, Patil replied in the negative.
The bench then asked Tawade’s lawyer Virendra Ichalkaranjikar if he was willing to wait for a few more months.
However, Ichalkaranjikar sought the court to decide the bail plea on merits, saying Tawade has been behind bars for seven years. He contended that there was no evidence against Tawade.
Who was Narendra Dabholkar?
Dabholkar, 67, the founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, an anti-superstition organisation, was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne assailants while on a morning walk in Pune on August 20, 2013. He was shot by persons allegedly linked to the radical outfit Sanatan Sanstha.
The CBI, which took over the case from Pune city police in 2014, has chargesheeted five accused in the case — Tawade, Sachin Andure, Sharad Kalaskar, Vikram Bhave and advocate Sanjeev Punalekar.
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