Trial in Dabholkar and Pansare murders to begin; Bombay HC to monitor

The CBI and the state SIT informed the court that they can begin trial but the probe into larger conspiracy will continue

Trial in Dabholkar and Pansare murders to begin

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) have submitted before the Bombay High Court that they are ready to begin trials in the case of murders of rationalists Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar. However, the agencies submitted that the investigation into the larger conspiracy will continue. The Division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale said that the court will continue to monitor the probe, reported LiveLaw.

The court raised concern over the delay in investigation and said, “We will go to root of matter. We will not let any agency do this. If this is to happen in a modern state like Maharashtra, this court is definitely concerned,” reported LiveLaw. The counsel appearing for the families credited the intervention of the court for the progress made towards the trial. The families of both deceased, had filed petitions raising concerns over the delay in investigation in both cases.

Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court had pulled up the CBI and the state SIT for not completing their probe into the murders of communist leader, Govind Pansare and anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dabholkar. The court had asked the agencies to come with a positive statement for the next hearing. The counsel for the State SIT submitted the status report in a sealed envelope as owing to the sensitivity of the case not everything can be revealed, he said. He also informed the court that they are also ready to start the trial as 10 people have already been arrested for Pansare’s murder while two are still absconding.

During the last hearing, a Division Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale were apprised that the trial in journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder in Karnataka in 2017 with similar accused persons, has already begun, but the investigation in Maharashtra is still not complete and hence, the bench sought status reports. The bench had remarked that the incidents occurred in 2013 (Dabholkar’s murder) and 2015 (Pansare’s murder) but the investigation is not complete. The counsel for the families of Dabholkar and Pansare had submitted that the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) found a link in all four cases and while the CBI had filed three charge sheets against the four accused in the Dabholkar case, the SIT has been dragging its feet in Pansare’s case.

The matter is scheduled for hearing on April 15.


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