The CBI custody of Virendra Tawde, an accused in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, was today extended till June 20 by a local court.
Tawde, arrested by the CBI from Panvel in Navi Mumbai last week in connection with the murder of the 67-year-old anti-superstition crusader, was produced before Judicial Magistrate First Class V B Gulve-Patil on the expiry of his earlier remand.
CBI lawyer B P Raju sought further custodial interrogation of the accused, saying he was not cooperating with the investigating agency.
Subsequently, the court extended his CBI custody till June 20.
Tawde, an ENT surgeon, is a activist of the Sanatan Sanstha which has come under the scanner for the murders of Dabholkar, communist leader Govind Pansare and rationalist M M Kalburgi.
He is the first accused to be held in the nearly three-year-old case.
Dabholkar was shot dead by two unidentified men while he was on a morning walk on Omkareshwar Bridge here on August 20, 2013.
Tawde and another Sanatan Sanstha activist Sarang Akolkar wanted to eliminate rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2009 itself, but they dropped the plan due to the Margao bomb blast that took place in the same year, CBI sources had yesterday said, citing evidence pieced together by the agency.
Tawde, suspected to be the brain behind the murder conspiracy, kept on planning a hit on the activist along with Akolkar. The plan was finally executed on August 20, 2013, they said.
The CBI is probing the Dabholkar murder case, which was handed over to it in May 2014 by the Bombay High Court. The NIA is handling the Margao blast case.
The sources also said Tawde hated Dabholkar for his relentless campaign against superstition. He also allegedly played a key role in the 2009 Sangli-Miraj riots.
The Sanstha has denied any role in Dabholkar’s murder and termed Tawde’s arrest as “mysterious”.