Further monitoring of Dabholkar murder case not necessary: Bombay HC

With the investigation already complete and trial in progress, the court deemed any further monitoring unnecessary

Published - April 19, 2023 01:31 am IST - Mumbai

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said further monitoring by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is not necessary for the investigation of the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 in Pune.

A Division Bench of Justices A.S. Gadkari and P.D. Naik noted, “Record indicates that all the accused in this case have been arrested and the CBI has submitted the chargesheet. There are in all five accused persons who are being tried. The prosecution has cited a list of 33 witnesses and the trial of the present case has already commenced before the special Unlawful Activities Prevention Act court, Pune. As on March 29, 2023, 18 witnesses have already been examined and less than five witnesses are left to be examined.”

“The investigation of the present crime has already been completed and the trial of it is steadily progressing. This court is of the view that further monitoring on the investigation of the present crime is not necessary,” they said.

The court was hearing a criminal petition filed by Dabholkar’s daughter Mukta, seeking a direction from the court to appoint an independent special investigation team led by a CBI officer holding a rank equivalent to Additional Director General of Police, Maharashtra and consisting of officers of higher rank of impeccable credentials to conduct investigation into the case.

On May 9, 2014, the High Court had directed the investigation be transferred to CBI from Deccan Police station, Pune.

Advocate Abhay Nevagi, appearing for Ms. Dabholkar, said: the four murders of Dabholkar, Comrade Govind Pansare, Gauri Lankesh, Professor M.M. Kalburgi were committed in an organised manner. The chargesheets filed in these cases establish that the motive behind the murders is to eliminate certain people or rationalists systematically. All the said cases are interconnected and the mastermind behind it is not yet arrested.

He pointed out that Dabholkar’s case is of extraordinary nature and therefore monitoring the investigation may be continued by keeping the present petition pending.

On January 30, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing CBI, informed the court that the investigating officer in the case had forwarded an investigation completion report to the headquarters of CBI and a response was awaited.

On August 20, 2013, the 67-year-old founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, anti-superstition crusader Dabholkar was shot dead while he was out on a morning walk in Pune.

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