CBI finds link between Dabholkar, Gauri Lankesh murders

CBI finds link between Dabholkar, Gauri Lankesh murders

In a major breakthrough, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has established connections between the murders of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar and jouralist-activist Gauri Lankesh. PTI file photo

The CBI has established a connection between the murders of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar and journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.

The CBI, along with the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra Police, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka Police and the Kolhapur police-led SIT, are also investigating the murders of Communist leader Govind Pansare and Kannada writer Prof M M Kalburgi.

The link between the murders of Dr Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh came out from the recent breakthroughs by the CBI and Maharashtra ATS, following information from the Karnataka SIT.

This was mentioned by the CBI in a remand note on Sunday when one of the suspects, Sachin Andhure, was produced before Judicial Magistrate (First Class) at Shivajinagar in Pune.

"Some of the accused in the Gauri Lankesh case are connected with Sachin Andhure and the Dr Narendra Dabholkar murder case," the CBI said while seeking an extension of Andhure's remand, which was granted by court till 30 August.

The role of right-wing activists, including those associated with Sanatan Sanstha and other organisations, have come to light.

The CBI, however, has not named any such organisation in the remand applications so far.

"During the interrogation of Andhure, he revealed that one of the arrested accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder case (Amol Kale) had handed over one 7.65-mm country-made pistol and three bullets to him," the remand note said, even though it does not name Kale.

Andhure passed the pistol and bullets to his brother-in-law Subham Surale in Aurangabad on August 11, who in turn passed it on to his friend Rohit Rege, also in Aurangabad.

During the recent raids in Aurangabad, the CBI seized one pistol with magazine and three bullets of 7.65 mm.

Andhure's name was revealed by Sharad Kalaskar, a resident of Nalasopara near Mumbai, who was arrested by the Maharashtra ATS for planning blasts in Mumbai, Pune, Solapur and Satara.

It was Andhure and Kalaskar who went on a motorcycle and shot Dr Dabholkar.

The CBI will seek Kalaskar's custody once his remand with the Maharashtra ATS ends. Besides, it would also seek the remand of Amol Kale by the SIT of the Karnataka Police.

CBI officials said efforts are underway to trace the motorcycle that was used for Dabholkar's murder.

During the raids in multiple locations in Mumbai, the Maharashtra ATS seized bombs and gun power, and found a pistol-making factory.

In that case, five people — Vaibhav Raut (40), Sharad Kalaskar (25), Sudhanva Ghondalekar (39), Shrikant Pangarkar (55) and Avinash Pawar (30) — have been arrested.

It is to be mentioned here that one of the accused, Rajesh Bangera, arrested by the Karnataka SIT in connection with Gauri's murder, is the one who may have trained Andhure, Kalaskar, Parashuram Waghmare and Ganesh Miskin, who had reportedly shot Gauri Lankesh.

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