10 Years of Dabholkar Murder: No Further Court Monitoring of CBI Probe Required, Says Bombay HC
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday discontinued the court monitoring into the probe being carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, noting the chargesheet has been filed and the case trial has commenced.
A division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and P D Naik in its order also said the CBI's investigation officer has submitted the probe completion report to the agency's headquarters.
"It is, thus, clear that the investigation of the present crime has already been completed and the trial of it is steadily progressing. As of March 2023, the prosecution had already examined 18 witnesses," the HC said in its order.
Dabholkar (67), founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, was shot dead by two persons, allegedly linked to the radical outfit Sanatan Sanstha, while he was on a morning walk in Pune on August 20, 2013.
The high court was monitoring the probe since 2014 when the case was handed over to the CBI for investigation, with the agency submitting periodical reports to the court.
The HC said no further monitoring was required in the probe and disposed of the petition filed by Narendra Dabholkar's daughter, Mukta Dabholkar, seeking for the court monitoring to continue.
In January this year, the CBI informed the HC that its probe into the case was complete and the investigation officer has sent a closure report to its head office for approval.
However, till date the CBI headquarters has not taken any decision on the report submitted by the investigation officer, the HC noted.
The CBI, which took over the case from Pune city police in 2014, has so far charge-sheeted five accused in the case. The trial against them is on before a sessions court in Pune.
In 2014, the high court transferred the probe into the case to the CBI following a petition filed by social activist Ketan Tirodkar and later by Mukta Dabholkar.
Since then, the HC was monitoring the progress made in the case.
Mukta Dabholkar's advocate Abhay Nevagi had argued that the cases of four killings - of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, Gauri Lankesh and M M Kalburgi - were inter-connected and the mastermind behind all these cases was not yet arrested.
The charge-sheets filed in these cases establish that the motive behind the murders was to eliminate certain people or rationalists systematically, Nevagi had argued.
The HC in its order relied on the Supreme Court judgements and noted that once the chargesheet is submitted in the proper court, the process of court monitoring the investigation comes to an end and it is for that court to take cognisance of the same and deal with the matter.
Communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare and his wife Uma Pansare were shot in Maharashtra's Kolhapur city on February 15, 2015, while on a morning walk.
Govind Pansare succumbed to his injuries five days later while his wife survived.
Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017 outside her house in Bengaluru.
Kannada writer Kalburgi was shot dead at his residence in Karnataka's Dharwad on August 30, 2015.
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