Bombay High Court concerned over delay in Narendra Dabholkar murder case probe

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed its displeasure over delay in the murder probe of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

Dabholkar and Pansare

“It’s been over two years and still there is no trace of the assailants. This is a serious matter and needs close monitoring,” observed a division bench consisting of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Rajesh Ketkar. The bench then directed the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) to file a status report by next week.

Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013 allegedly by two youths who came on a motorcycle.

The court also objected to the Maharashtra government’s decision to appoint seven officers from different locations of the state to assist CBI in its probe. The advocates for Dabholkar family had informed the court that the officers were posted at Yevatmal and Nagpur districts. The bench said, “How do you (government) expect them to coordinate with the central agency, which is investigating an incident that occurred in Pune.” The bench accordingly directed the state government to inform it by next week the steps taken to resolve the issue.

On May 9, 2014, the high court had transferred the investigation into the murder case of anti-superstition activist Dabholkar from the Pune crime branch to the CBI. The main reason for transferring the case was that the court felt a need for detailed investigation. However, then the CBI had refused to take over the investigation, citing an apex court order stating that routine matters of investigation should not be transferred to the CBI unless the cases have national or international ramification. Further, it was also reasoned that the agency was short-staffed.

Report into Pansare murder case sought
The Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, also directed the State Government to file its status report into the investigations conducted in the Govind Pansare murder case. The left-wing politician was shot by unidentified assailants in Kolhapur.