Pune: A special court in Pune on Wednesday framed charges against five accused in the murder case of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.
Dabholkar, who was the head of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013, allegedly by members of a right-wing extremist group.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the case.
After the charges are framed, the criminal trial begins.
On Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge SR Navandar (special judge for UAPA cases) asked the five accused – Virender Singh Tawde, Sachin Andure, Sharad Kalaskar, Sanjeev Punalekar and Vikram Bhave – whether they had accepted their guilt, to which all replied. Negative.
Tawde, Kalaskar and Andure, who appeared through video-conferencing from their respective jails, sought more time from the court, saying they wanted to discuss the matter with their lawyers.
However, the court dismissed the petition.
The other two accused – advocates Punalekar and Bhave – appeared in the court.
The court framed charges against Tawde, Andure, Kalaskar and Bhave under sections 302 (murder), 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention), relevant sections of the Arms Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Did it 16 of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) (Punishment for Terrorist Act).
In addition, charges were framed against Punalekar under section 201 (causing missing of evidence or giving false information to screen offender) of the IPC.
CBI’s counsel and Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi later said that the charges have been framed and further proceedings in the case have been fixed for hearing on September 30.