The probe into the murder of rationalist activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar has been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following a Bombay high court order on Friday.
The court's order was passed in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar that had sought a transfer of the investigation from the Pune police to the CBI.
Dabholkar was gunned down by unidentified motorcycle-borne gunmen while out on a morning walk near Omkareshwar bridge in Pune on August 20 last year. It was suspected that this was the work of right-wing groups, who felt threatened by his work.
The court observed that it was a fit case for transfer as the case diary revealed that the Pune police had made no headway even though the officers might have diligently investigated the crime.
"In fact the investigation has reached a dead end and no further progress at all can be expected," the court order said. "The credibility of the investigating agency in the minds of the people at large needs to be instilled and according to us therefore this would fall in the category of rare case for transferring the investigation to the CBI."
The court concluded by saying, "a fair, an impartial and a diligent investigation is necessary in order to ensure that the assailants are arrested and tried."
Tirodkar had alleged in his petition that right-wing groups were involved in the killing with the conspiracy spanning two states and that the Pune police had failed miserably in making any significant headway till now.
On Thursday the CBI counsel had argued strongly against transferring the probe to itself, saying that it could only be done in rare cases and where national or international importance was involved and that no allegation of bias had been made against the investigation till now.
So far, the Pune crime branch was investigating the case under the supervision of the additional commissioner of police. Though two persons had been arrested no chargesheet was filed.
Dabholkar's daughter Mukta had also been allowed as an intervenor in the PIL.