A special court on Tuesday directed that advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, counsel for fringe right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha; and his aide, Vikram Bhave, be sent to judicial custody in connection with the murder of eminent rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.Mr. Punalekar and Mr. Bhave, who were first arrested by the CBI on May 26, were produced before court on Tuesday on expiry of their CBI custody.The court of additional sessions judge R.M. Pande denied the CBI’s plea seeking a further extension of the custody of the accused. It observed that the CBI did not make any fresh progress in the investigation when the accused were in custody.Mr. Punalekar and Mr. Bhave have been alleged by the investigating agency to have participated in the conspiracy to murder Dabholkar, in destruction of evidence and in aiding and abetting Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, named as the assailants of the late rationalist.Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi argued for a 14-day custodial extension, saying the CBI needed time to analySe the data retrieved from Mr. Punalekar’s laptop and mobile phone seized during his arrest.Mr. Suryavanshi submitted that Mr. Punalekar harboured one of the accused Sanstha members in the 2009 Madgaon blast in Goa. He said the CBI needed more time to probe how Mr. Bhave conducted the reconnaissance before Dabholkar’s murder and interrogate him to uncover details of the getaway motorbike used by the alleged two shooters.Arguing against the CBI’s plea, defence counsel Virendra Ichalkaranjikar said the CBI’s allegation against Mr. Punalekar of participating in the murder conspiracy was “not tenable.”“The CBI claims that Mr. Punalekar had advised alleged shooter Sahard Kalaskar in June 2018 to destroy the pistol used in a crime that occurred in 2013. This vague, ‘post-incident’ allegation does not hold water. Furthermore, despite seizing advocate Mr. Punalekar’s laptop and mobile on May 27, the CBI has made no progress to retrieve data,” he said.In September last, while seeking an extension of Kalaskar’s custody, the CBI told the court that in July 2018, the accused dismantled four country-made pistols and thrown them in the creeks of Greater Mumbai and Thane. It also suggested that one of the firearms could be the weapon used to kill Dabholkar.In his statement to the CBI last year, Kalaskar allegedly said that Mr. Punalekar, known for his defamatory statements against Dabholkar, had asked him to destroy the weapons.According to the CBI, Kalaskar further revealed that it was the Thane-based Mr. Bhave who planned the reconnaissance, pointed Dabholkar to the assailants and even planned the getaway route for the shooters after the crime.Besides the arrests of Andure, Kalaskar and Dr. Virendra Tawde – said to be the alleged mastermind of the murders of Dabholkar and veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare – the CBI has arrested Amol Kale, Amit Digvekar and Rajesh Bangera in connection with the conspiracy to kill the two rationalist-thinkers.Kale, Digvekar and Bangera, who were granted default bail in December last in the Dabholkar case, are presently incarcerated in a Bengaluru jail for their roles in the killing of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh.
MOST READ Catalan, a decorated wushu world champion, thought he had done enough to finally earn a title shot having won five consecutive fights over the last two years, including a second-round stoppage of Chinese prospect Peng Xue Wen last January and a one-sided win over Stefer Rahardian five months ago.“I think my previous performances can vouch for my position as a contender for the belt. I scored five-straight victories against top-tier opponents, which qualifies me to be a title contender,” Catalan said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefDespite waiting for another time to get a crack at the crown, Catalan said he accepts ONE’s decision in choosing Saruta.“I respect their decision for choosing Yosuke Saruta. Of course, there is a reason behind it. I accept it wholeheartedly. It’s not my time yet,” he said. “I am patiently waiting. I know it will come.” SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Rene Catalan. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFilipino Rene Catalan felt he was worthy to be the replacement challenger to compatriot Joshua Pacio for the strawweight title in the main event of ONE: Eternal Glory on January 19 in Jakarta, Indonesia.Pacio was initially to defend his title in a rematch against Hayato Suzuki but the Japanese had to withdraw from the fight due to an injury and another Japanese in Yosuke Saruta was put in his place.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Catalan, who turned 40 this month, believes his time will eventually come.“My goal is to keep on winning until my time to compete for the title comes,” he stressed. “This kind of situation motivates me more. I expect big and favorable things to happen this 2019.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 30, Bucks beat Celtics LATEST STORIES