Charges would be framed against five accused in the case of the murder of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar on September 15, a special court here said today.
Dr Dabholkar, who headed the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013, allegedly by the members of a fringe group.
A criminal trial starts once charges are framed.
Charges would be framed against Virendra Sinh Tawde, Sachin Andure, Sharad Kalaskar and Vikram Bhave under IPC sections 302 (murder), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention), relevant sections of the Arms Act and section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (punishment for terrorist act), the court said.
Against advocate Sanjiv Punalekar, another accused, charges would be framed under IPC section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information to screen offender), said special judge for UAPA cases S R Navandar.
Tawde, Andure and Punalekar attended the hearing through video link while Bhave was present in person. Kalaskar could not be present virtually due to technical reasons, prosecution sources said.
When the judge asked the accused if they pleaded guilty to the charges, Tawde sought time, saying he wanted to meet his family members and lawyers in person. Andure also sought more time.
The judge said there was no need to grant time for merely pleading guilty or not guilty.
As the accused insisted, the court passed the order to frame charges while deferring the proceedings to September 15, but made it clear that there would be no further postponement.
CBI lawyer and special prosecutor Prakash Suryawvashi said the central agency had proposed the same charges against Punalekar as those against others, but the court in its order only mentioned section 201 of IPC in his case.
“We will not challenge the order. I will convey the order to the CBI,” he said.