MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and directed it to file a reply to the bail plea of Virendrasingh Tawade, a prime accused in the 2013 case of killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune.

A bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar directed the CBI to file its reply within two weeks.

The central agency had arrested Tawade in 2016 and said in its charge-sheet that he was one of the masterminds of the conspiracy to kill the rationalist.

Tawade, lodged in Pune’s Yerwada Jail under judicial custody, approached the HC for bail earlier this year.

Last week, a special court in Pune framed charges against Tawade and three co-accused for the offence of murder under the IPC and relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The fifth accused in the case, Sanjeev Punalekar, faces charges under IPC section 201 (causing disappearance of the evidence or giving false inform to screen offender).

The HC will hear the bail plea further on October 13.

Dabholkar, who headed the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, an anti-superstition outfit, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013.