The confession of the man accused of killing rationalist Narendra Dabholkar not only established his connection with the murders of rationalist Govind Pansare and journalist Gauri Lankesh, it also revealed who was their next target: Justice BG Kolse Patil, a former judge of the Bombay High Court.
Sharad Kalaskar was arrested last October in connection with another case. But during investigation, his connection to the murder of the rationalists surfaced and he has been charged with conspiracy and murder of Gauri Lankesh.
It was during questioning in this case that he mentioned details of the murders of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and the other targets.
In his confession, a copy of which is with NDTV, Sharad Kalaskar said the right-wing men who hatched the conspiracy, had told them that these were "evil men" whom they needed to kill.
Sharad Kalaskar revealed that they had studied the former judge as a target on the instruction of Amol Kale, one of the main conspirators, who is now in jail.
Justice Patil, who worked with Dr. Narendra Dabholkar on the anti-superstition bill, told NDTV that this was not news to him.
"This was known to all, all the time. This is not new to us," he said. "This person, that is, Punalekar as I referred to, he had threatened me on live TV and they used to issue threats... I used to receive letters and I handed over to them to the police," he said.
But despite the threats, he was not given any security, Justice Patil said.
"Even after my name was published, nobody thought of giving me security. The Nagpur-Bar Association, then Pune Bar Association and Ahmednagar Bar Association agitated against this," he said.
For the last three or four months, he has been given special unit protection. "The state has special protection unit. From that one person is given as a security to me and they change after every twelve hours and he moves along with me," he added.
Legal experts said Kasalkar's chilling confession about Dabholkar's murder cannot be used against him as they were made in connection with the case involving the murder of Gauri Lankesh. But it has been instrumental in unearthing the entire conspiracy and will help in the corroboration of facts in the case.