CBI claims ‘link’ between killing of Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabholkar in Supreme Court

On the left, Narendra Dabholkar. On the right, Gauri Lankesh. Pic Credits: Firstpost

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday claimed before the Supreme Court that there existed a link between the killing of journalist Gaur Lankesh in Bengaluru and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in 2013. The CBI also sought an extension of Sachin Andure’s custody, who is one of the alleged shooters in the Dabholkar murder case.

The custody was extended till 30th August by Judicial Magistrate (First Class) HR Jadhav. CBI told the court that one of the accused in the Lankesh murder case had handed over a pistol and three bullets with a magazine to Andure.

The CBI told the court that the agency would seek the custody of Sharad Kalaskar, another alleged shooter in the Dabholkar murder case. Kalaskar had earlier been arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), being held in connection with the seizure of crude bombs and firearms from various parts of the state.

“Kalaskar is currently in the custody of the ATS in the Nalasopara explosives seizure case. The CBI will seek his custody in the Dabholkar case also as he and Andure need to be interrogated together,” Special Public Prosecutor Vijaykumar Dhakane said.

He also said that they would seek the custody of those arrested by the Karnataka SIT in the Lankesh murder case as some of them were “linked” to the Dabholkar case and connected to Andure.

“During Andure’s interrogation, it was revealed that one of the accused in the Lankesh murder case had handed over a 7.65 mm country-made pistol and three bullets to him and he had passed those over to his brother-in-law, Shubham Surale, in Aurangabad (Maharashtra) on 11 August,” Dhakane told the court.

The pistol had been passed by Surale to Rohit Rege, the prosecutor disclosed. The CBI had seized a black-coloured country-made pistol with a magazine and three 7.65 mm “live cartridges” (bullets) from Rege’s Aurangabad residence, Dhakane said, adding that the agency was investigating whether the weapon was used to kill Dabholkar.

The agency is also trying to trace the motorcycle allegedly used by Andure and Kalaskar on 20 August, 2013, the day they allegedly killed Dabholkar, he said.

Dabolkar was an anti-superstition activist and was based in Pune. He was shot dead during his morning walk in August 2013. In September 2017, Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence in Bengaluru.

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