A day after the murder of 39-year-old Right To Information activist and dhaba owner Satish Shetty — who had exposed several land grab scams — the Bombay High Court took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the murder.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil admitted on Thursday that the land mafia was back in action.
The high court directed the state government and the director general of police to file within a week a list of steps taken to investigate Shetty’s murder.
A division bench of the court said it “will not let public spirited people who approach the high court to espouse public causes to suffer like this”.
“Such incidents, in our opinion, are to dissuade citizens who expose irregularities from approaching this court,” Justices FI Rebello and JH Bhatia said.
Shetty, closely associated with anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, was murdered while taking a morning walk near his residence, 40 km from Pune, on Wednesday.
His murder came four days after civic rights activist Nayana Kathpalia’s house was attacked by armed men in Mumbai.
Patil told mediapersons, “These incidents are not acceptable. It only shows that the land mafia has sprung up with new vigour, which we need to curb. Both incidents are being closely looked into by the police and we are sure we will get the assailants. We are not going to spare the culprits.”
Despite Patil’s sound bites, 36 hours after Shetty was killed with sharp edged weapons, the Pune district police remained clueless about the assailants. No arrest was made till late on Thursday evening.
Inspector Pradeep Aphale of Talegao Dabhade police station, where Shetty’s younger brother Sandeep had lodged a police complaint, told HT there was no breakthrough in the investigation. “We are trying our best,” Aphale said.