By LE Desk

Mumbai, May 6: The Bombay High Court today granted bail to Sanatan Sanstha member Vikram Bhave, accused in the 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

Bhave, who is currently lodged at the Yerwada Central Jail, will be released after submitting a cash bond of ₹1 lakh.

A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale directed him not to leave the jurisdiction of National Investigation Agency’s court in Pune, The Hindu reported. 

Bhave had filed an appeal before High Court after his second bail was rejected by the special Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) court in Pune on January 21, 2020.

The special court had held that there was sufficient incriminating material against him. It also relied upon a confessional statement by one of the shooters and co-accused Sharad Kalaskar.

Bhave has been accused of tampering evidence in the case and for helping two accused with a recce of the murder spot and escape route.

A resident of Ratnagiri, Bhave was arrested along with Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punalekar, another accused in the case, on May 26, 2019 and was granted bail in July 2019. He is named in the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in November 2019. After this he filed for his second bail stating that the chargesheet constituted a change in circumstances for consideration of bail.

On August 20, 2013, 67-year-old founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti and anti-superstition crusader Dabholkar was shot dead while he was out on a morning walk in Pune.

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