The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 7 told the Bombay High Court that the trial into the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar could be concluded in two months if expedited as there are only eight witnesses remaining.
A Division Bench of justices A.S. Gadkari and P.D. Naik was hearing appeal filed by the prime accused in the case Dr. Virendrasinh Tawade, challenging the rejection of his bail by Pune sessions court.
CBI’s counsel Sandesh Patil informed the court that out of 32 witnesses only eight witnesses are left for examining.
The court asked if there were any hostile witnesses. To which Mr. Patil said there were none.
The court then asked advocate appearing for Mr. Tawade if they will accept CBI’s statement that the trial will complete in two months.
Mr. Tawade’s advocate Virendra Icchalkaranjikar said the statement is unacceptable to him as his client is behind bars for the last seven years and that CBI keeps adding witnesses to be examined.
He said he wants to show the court why Mr. Tawade deserves to be released on bail and his only apprehension is, it may be deemed as a mini trial. The court posted the matter to be heard for two weeks.
On August 20, 2013, 67-year-old founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, anti-superstition crusader Dabholkar was shot dead while he was out on a morning walk in Pune. He was to address a press conference later in the day to advocate for an eco-friendly Ganesh festival.
On September 15, 2021, the special court in Pune framed charges against alleged members of Hindu extremist group in India, Sanathan Sanstha namely ear, and nose surgeon Dr. Tawade, alleged assailants Sachin Andhure and Sharad Kalaskar, Mumbai-based criminal lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar and his aide Vikram Bhure.
While Mr. Punalekar and Mr. Bhave are out on bail, Dr. Tawade, Mr. Kalaskar and Mr. Andhure are lodged at Yerwada Central Jail.