Three persons in police custody in connection with the murder of Right to Information (RTI) activist Satish Shetty were on Thursday remanded to judicial custody under a new crime.

The police custody of Vijay Dabhade, a lawyer, and his associates Parshuram Telugu and Pramod Waghmore ended on Thursday.

As the police were unable to produce evidence that proved their involvement in the murder, the Wadgaon Maval Judicial Magistrate First Class refused to extend their police custody and instead sent them to judicial custody for plotting a conspiracy to murder Shetty.

The fourth accused in the case, Dongrya Rathod, will remain in police custody till it expires on January 31. Rathod has confessed that Dabhade approached him few months ago to give him a contract to kill Shetty but he refused.

Since Shetty’s murder, his younger brother, Sandeep, had maintained that people with clout greater than that of Dabhade could be involved in the murder. In his complaint, he had mentioned that Shetty’s exposes had done much harm to the IRB Infrastructure Developers and the Sable-Waghire companies and they could be behind the murder.

Sandeep Shetty told The Hindu on Thursday, “The investigations are still going on. The police have assured me that they are investigating all angles in the case as they don’t want to have any loose links. They have said that they don’t want to name an influential person without having foolproof evidence against him. They expect a strong breakthrough soon.”

Shetty, who had used the RTI to expose the land mafia in the Lonavla, Talegaon and Dehu Road areas, about 50 km from here, was killed on January 13 when he was out for a morning walk near his house in Talegaon.

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