January 23, 2017

India: Bombay HC expresses dissatisfaction over tardy progress in Pansare, Dabholkar cases

The New Indian Express

Bombay HC expresses dissatisfaction over tardy progress in Pansare, Dabholkar cases

By Online Desk | Published: 20th January 2017 04:48 PM |

Last Updated: 20th January 2017 04:48 PM | A+A A- |

Bombay High Court | PTI

MUMBAI: Expressing dissatisfaction over the pace of progress in the Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare murder cases, the Bombay High Court said it was "very unhappy" even as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the court that Scotland Yard has refused to help in the forensic probe on the ground that there was no legal bond between the UK and India for sharing data.

A bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and B P Colabawalla said there was also no development in the proceedings of trial courts in Pune and Kolhapur which are trying Dabholkar and Pansare murder cases, respectively.

The CBI had informed the High Court earlier that it had sent forensic evidence to Scotland Yard to seek its opinion on whether same weapons were used in the murders of Dabholkar and Pansare in Maharashtra and the killing of another rationalist M M Kalburgi in Karnataka.

"Scotland Yard has informed us in writing that no legal agreement existed between the two countries on sharing of forensic data and hence it will not help by conducting a forensic probe into these murder cases," Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told a division bench hearing petitions filed by the families of the two slain rationalists.

CBI also submitted in a sealed cover a forensic report from Ahmedabad Forensic Laboratory on ballistic evidence related to the killing of the three rationalists. This is the third ballistic report from a forensic lab, the other two being that of labs in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The CBI, probing Dabholkar's murder, and the Special Investigating Team (SIT) of state CID, probing the killing of Pansare, also submitted reports in separate sealed covers to the high court on the progress made in these two cases.

The judges asked the investigation agencies not to reveal the contents to anyone, including media, as the probe was still on.

SIT counsel Ashok Mundargi said, "The probe in Pansare killing is on. We have identified two absconding suspects. The chargesheet has been filed and we are investigating further."

On a plea made by the two agencies seeking eight weeks time to conduct further probe, the bench deferred the matter till March 20.

November last year, the CBI and SIT probes had named Dr Virendra Tawde of Sanatan Sanstha offshoot Hindu Janajagruti Samiti as the key conspirator in both the cases.

Pansare, known for his rationalist views, was shot dead in Kolhapur on February 20, 2015. His wife too was injured in the attack.

Dabholkar, a noted anti-superstition activist and rationalist, was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013.