Members of Hindutva organisations, including Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), protested near the Sanpada railway station on Tuesday against the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) arrest of advocate Sanjeev Punalekar in connection with the murder of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. The ‘National Hindu Andolan’, as the organisations termed it, had close to 50 protesters who shouted slogans with placards condemning Mr. Punalekar’s arrest.
“The arrest of the National Secretary of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, Sanjiv Punalekar and Right to Information activist of the Parishad, Vikram Bhave, by CBI in the case of the killing of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, is strongly condemned. To arrest Mr. Punalekar and Mr. Bhave when a pro-Hindutva government is in power smacks of conspiracy behind such an action. The CBI has bowed before the demand of the progressives. Mr. Punalekar had proved the falsehood of saffron terrorism in the Malegaon explosion case, filed several public interest litigations. We want the court to conduct investigations on officers under their supervision. Nandakumar Nair, for instance, must be removed from the investigations as he seems to be biased,” Dr. Uday Dhuri, HJS spokesperson, said.
The organisation has also demanded an inquiry into the intentions of the CBI officer in getting Mr. Punalekar arrested.
“Mr. Punalekar fights for the rights of Hindus framed by officers in various serious offences. Arresting him is injustice against all the Hindus for whom he fought,” Mr. Dhuri said.
The CBI, in its supplementary chargesheet submitted earlier, had mentioned that Sharad Kalaskar, one of the shooters in the Dabholkar as well as Gauri Lankesh case, had recorded his confession statement.
“The statement was recorded under The Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, in which he revealed that he had thrown four pistols after dismantling them into Kharegao Creek in Thane as per Punalekar’s advice,” a CBI officer said. Mr Punalekar has, in the past, appeared for Mr. Bhave in Thane blast case, and for Mr. Kalaskar and Sachin Andure in the Dabholkar case. He has also appeared for the accused in the Anti Terrorism Squad’s Nallasopara case and Malegaon blast case.
“It’s not an advocate’s job to tell his client of ways to dispose of firearms used in a criminal activity. We are submitting a monthly report to the High Court and the court is well aware of the developments in the case,” the officer said.