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Dabholkar Murder Case: Supreme Court Issues Notice To CBI On Plea Opposing Bail Of Accused Vinod Bhave

Shruti Kakkar
18 Aug 2021 3:46 PM GMT
Dabholkar Murder Case: Supreme Court Issues Notice To CBI On Plea Opposing Bail Of Accused Vinod Bhave
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The Supreme Court on Monday (August 16, 2021) issued notice to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a plea filed by Mukta Dabholkar, kin of murdered anti-superstition activist Narender Dabholkar, challenging the bail granted by the Bombay High Court to one of the accused Vikram Bhave. The division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy also issued notice to...

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The Supreme Court on Monday (August 16, 2021) issued notice to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a plea filed by Mukta Dabholkar, kin of murdered anti-superstition activist Narender Dabholkar, challenging the bail granted by the Bombay High Court to one of the accused Vikram Bhave.

The division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy also issued notice to the State of Maharashtra and Bhave in a plea filed by Dabholkar's daughter Mukta and son Hameed.

Filed through Advocate on Record Krishna Kumar, Dabholkar's kin in their plea had averred that , "Considering the criminal antecedents of the appellant (Bhave), there is reasonable apprehension of tampering the evidence and witnesses. The charges levelled against the appellant are of grave and serious nature and involves connection series of murders, therefore it has far-reaching consequences on the society at large and involves national interest."

Background

During the course of hearing initially, the Court was of the view that the role attributed to the accused was small, but upon Senior Advocate Anand Grover's Submission that the crime was committed by Bhave within 3 months of release on bail in another case involving the Explosive Substances Act where he was convicted and sentenced for 10 years and granted bail after five years, the Court agreed to issue notice.

While referring to the murder of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, Senior Counsel also attributed a larger plot against Bhave by accusing the organisation to which he belonged- Sanatan Sanstha – being involved in similar killings of persons opposed to the organisation's ideology.

Taking into consideration the fact that Bhave was not named an accused in Gauri Lankesh murder case, the Court told Senior Counsel that, "This is a very dangerous precedent if we start imputing motive to a particular ideology. What you are suggesting will have serious repercussions on other cases."

What Was The Bombay High Court's Order

The Bombay High Court on May 6, 2021, while allowing Bhave's plea had observed that CBI could not have relied solely on the confessional statement by co-accused Sharad Kalaskar given to the Karnataka SIT in journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh's murder case. Especially since Bhave was not an accused in the Karnataka case.

"The emphasis placed by respondent No.2-CBI solely on the said confessional statement of co-accused Sharad Kalaskar under the KCOC(Karnataka Control of Organised Crime) Act is prima facie misplaced and it is also clear that the Sessions Court could not have placed emphasis on the said confessional statement to conclude that the accusation made against the appellant concerning the incident in question could be said to be prima facie true," a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale observed.

What Was The Narender Dabholkar Murder Case?

Dabholkar was killed in Pune on August 20, 2012 and Bhave, the accused in question was arrested in May 2019 for his role of conducting reconnaissance of the area where Dabholkar used to take his walk, and of providing logistical support to the two accused(s) who committed the murder.

Bhave was charged u/s 302, section 201, section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Dabholkar's death was transferred at the instance of the Dabholkar's kin in June 2014 to CBI by the Bombay High Court and the CBI had thereafter named three persons for the crime- Virendra Tavade, Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure and the CBI in all had named six accused(s).

The CBI arrested Bhave on 25th May 2019 along with advocate Sanjeev Punalekar. under the UAPA. They accused him of helping alleged sharpshooters Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure to conduct a reconnaissance of the spot where Dr. Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013, about 15 days before the incident. The CBI further claimed that Bhave showed them the escapes after committing the crime, and one of them identified Bhave's picture.

Case Title: Mukta Dabholkar and Anr v CBI & Ors

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