The Central Bureau of Investigation informed the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that the trial in the case of killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 is likely to be completed in the next two to three months, and opposed the bail plea of one of the accused in the case.
The accused, Virendrasinh Tawade, had sought bail on the ground of delay in the trial. He was arrested in the case in 2016.
Advocate Sandesh Patil, appearing for the CBI, told a division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and P D 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,” Patil said.
The bench sought to know if any of the witnesses, already examined, turned hostile in court. Patil replied in the negative.
The court then asked Tawade’s lawyer Virendra Ichalkaranjikar if he was willing to wait for a few more months.
The advocate, however, sought the court to decide the bail plea on merits, saying Tawade has been behind bars for seven years.
Ichalkaranjikar claimed there was no evidence against Tawade.
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The bench then posted the bail plea for hearing on February 21.
Dabholkar (67), a rationalist and founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, was shot dead by two assailants while he was 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.
The trial in the case began in October 2021.
The accused persons in the case are Tawade, Sachin Andure, Sharad Kalaskar, Vikram Bhave and advocate Sanjeev Punalekar.
Punalekar, who is out on bail, is charged with the destruction of evidence.
The other four are being tried for murder, criminal conspiracy and under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Arms Act.