The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted bail to Vikram Bhave, an accused in the case of killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, saying there are “not enough reasonable grounds” to conclude that the allegations against him are prima facie true.
Bhave was accused of helping two other accused – Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar – who allegedly shot Mr Dabholkar on August 20, 2013 in Pune, with a recce of the spot and escape route after the crime.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting a probe into the case.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale in its order noted that there were discrepancies in the prosecution’s evidence.
“The material on which much emphasis has been placed by the CBI to link the appellant (Bhave) with the incident in question, does not appear to indicate that the accusation levelled against the appellant can be said to be prima facie true,” the court said in its order.
The HC further said the CBI is still carrying out further investigation into the case to examine the larger conspiracy and hence, there is hardly any likelihood of trial commencing in the near future.
While granting bail to Bhave, the court directed him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two solvent sureties of the like amount.
It also directed him to appear before the police station concerned in Pune every day for a period of one month, followed by twice a week for two months and then once a week till the completion of the trial.
Bhave was arrested along with advocate Sanjeev Punalekar on May 25, 2019 by the CBI, on the basis of a statement given by Kalaskar.
Punalekar was granted bail by a sessions court in Pune in June 2019.
Bhave approached the HC earlier this year, after the sessions court in Pune rejected his bail plea.