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CBI asked to get forensic reports in Dabholkar, 2 other murder cases

bombay high court

Mumbai : The Bombay High Court today gave six weeks time to CBI to obtain the reports of forensic science laboratory of Scotland Yard on evidence in the murder cases of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, communist leader Govind Pansare and scholar M M Kalburgi.

The evidence was sent to Scotland Yard to find out whether there were links between the murders of the three rationalists, as it is suspected that same kind of weapons were used in all the killings.

However, a division bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari told CBI that this was the last opportunity being given to it to obtain forensic lab reports from abroad and cautioned that no further adjournments will be given.

“We have given you (CBI) enough time since May 2016 to obtain forensic lab reports of Scotland Yard and no more time will be given after the next hearing,” said the bench.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh informed the court that all the necessary permissions and clearances had been obtained from the authorities for going to Scotland Yard. He also said an officer would personally go abroad along with the documents and obtain reports from the foreign lab.

The bench also asked the Special Investigating Team of the Maharashtra government, which is probing the Govind Pansare murder case, to exercise caution when it comes to witnesses’ protection and not to disclose any investigation details to the media.

Justice Dharmadhikari said an SIT officer had been quoted in a newspaper report on investigation details in Pansare murder case. Because of these revelations, the absconding accused would get alerted and might escape thereby hampering investigations, the judge said.

The matter has been posted for hearing on November 23, when CBI has been asked to submit forensic reports on alleged links in these three murder cases.

While Dabholkar and Pansare were killed at different places in Maharashtra, Kalburgi was shot dead in Karnataka.

The bench is hearing a batch of petitions filed by the families of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking monitoring of probes in both the cases by the high court.

Dabholkar was killed in Pune on August 20, 2013 while Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He succumbed to his injuries four days later. Kalburgi was shot dead on August 30 last year at his residence in Dharwad district of Karnataka by two unidentified men.

During investigation, CBI had noticed a pattern in the killings which indicated that the same group might have been involved as the weapons used in the crime were similar. Hence, the agency sent bullets and empty cartridges that it recovered for forensic analysis.

CBI, probing the Dabholkar killing, and Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Maharashtra, investigating the Pansare killing, today submitted fresh reports on their probe.

The reports were presented to the court in a sealed cover by Additional Solicitor General (for CBI) Singh and government pleader Mankunwar Deshmukh (for SIT), and were perused by both the judges.

Abhay Nevadi, lawyer for Pansare and Dabholkar families, argued that the probe in these two cases should conclude fast and culprits should be brought to book.

The bench said, “If the investigations do not conclude fast, it might give an impression to the people at large that you do not want to arrest certain people.”

CBI and CID have been submitting periodical progress reports of their probe to the high court.

The bench also asked both the investigating agencies (CBI and SIT) to bring their probe to its logical end at the earliest as the families of the rationalists had moved the high court and also because the common man had faith in the administration and police machinery.

Right-wing activist Sameer Gaikwad, an alleged member of Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested by Kolhapur Police on September 16 last year in connection with Pansare’s murder.

Another Sanatan Sanstha activist Virendra Tawde was arrested by CBI from Panvel in Navi Mumbai in June this year in connection with Dabholkar’s murder.

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