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2015 Pansare Murder Case: No Headway by CID, Family Urges Bombay HC to Transfer Probe to ATS

HC issues notice, directs Maharashtra police's CID to submit report detailing progress made from 2020 till date.
Pansare Killing: Family

Mumbai: Slain activist Govind Pansare's daughter-in-law filed an interim application in the Bombay High Court on Thursday, seeking that the probe into his killing be transferred from the Maharashtra CID to the state ATS, claiming no headway was made in the case since 2015 and the probe status was "pathetic".

The court issued a notice to the state and directed the Maharashtra police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit a report detailing the progress made from 2020 till date.

In her plea filed through advocate Abhay Nevagi, Govind Pansare's daughter-in-law Megha Pansare, who is also an activist, claimed there existed a "larger conspiracy" behind the killings of Pansare, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Kannada academician and activist MM Kalburgi, and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

The "link and the mastermind behind them" ought to be investigated, Nevagi told a bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and VG Bisht.

The advocate argued that since the Dabholkar murder case trial had already commenced, that investigation cannot be transferred to another agency, but Pansare's case could be transferred to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) following the HC's order.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the case of Dabholkar's murder, while a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Maharashtra CID is conducting a probe into Pansare's killing. The Karnataka police's CID is probing the case of Kalburgi's murder.

Nevagi claimed the CID had made no headway in the Pansare case since 2015 and that the probe status was "pathetic".

The bench issued notice to the state and sought its response.

It also asked the state CID to file a status report detailing the progress made in the case between 2020, when it last filed a status report, and now.

Dhabolkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune while he was on a morning walk.

Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries a few days later on February 20. Kalburgi was shot dead in Dharwad, Karnataka, on August 30, 2015.

The agencies probing the three cases have said in court on previous occasions that the cases had some common links and accused persons.

The Bombay HC has been hearing petitions filed by the kin of Dhabolkar and Pansare, seeking that the court monitor the probe into the two cases.

On Thursday, the bench also permitted the state government to relieve Additional SP Tirupati Kakade, the current investigating officer (IO) in the Pansare case.

Kakade is due for a transfer after heading the probe for over four-and-a-half years. Since, a previous direction of the Bombay High Court mandated that none of the officers probing the two cases be changed without the court's permission, the state government approached the HC on Thursday.

The bench allowed the state's request for relieving Kakade, saying a new IO must be appointed within four weeks and only then Kakade can take charge of his new posting.

The state informed the court that there were 15 officers in the SIT probing the case, of whom two retired recently and one had died of COVID-19.

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