The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has claimed before a court in Mumbai that the killings of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last year and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in 2013 were “linked.
Seeking an extension of the custody of Sachin Andure, one of the alleged shooters in the Dabholkar murder case, the 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 him. Judicial Magistrate (First Class) HR Jadhav extended Andure’s CBI custody till 30 August.
Dabholkar, a Pune-based anti-superstition activist, was shot dead while he was on his morning walk in August 2013. Lankesh was shot dead in front of her residence in Bengaluru in September 2017.
The CBI told the court that the agency would seek the custody of Sharad Kalaskar, another alleged shooter in the Dabholkar murder case. Kalaskar was among the five persons arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) earlier this month 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, adding that the CBI would also 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.