Calling the probe conducted by Navi Mumbai crime branch "faulty" and one-sided, the Bombay High Court on Thursday transferred the investigation of Pawanraje Nimbalkar murder case to Central Bureau of Investigation.
Nimbalkar, a Congress leader from Osmanabad, was shot dead on June 3, 2003, at Kalmaboli in Navi Mumbai, while travelling down the Pune-Mumbai expressway. His driver too was killed.
His wife Anandibai Nimbalkar had filed petition before the High Court, seeking CBI probe and alleging that NCP leader Padmasinh Patil a former state minister -- had hand in Pawanraje's murder.
Division bench of Justices SB Mhase and VK Tahilramani have said in the judgement that the probe carried out by Navi Mumbai crime branch has hit a "deadlock" and does not inspire confidence.
Police did not look into the theory that Vicky Malhotra, a Chhota Rajan aide who was in Thane jail during this period, might be involved in the murder, judges said.
Narco-analysis of Tanaji Patil, arrested accused, had revealed Malhotra's name
Judges had, during the hearing, sought the record of Malhotra's movement out of the jail. Malhotra had been taken to Mumbai around June 3 in connection with a court remand.
Judges have also recorded that police did not trace the miscalls on Nimbalkar's cell-phone on the day of the murder.
Judges have said that in a matter regarding a person who has connections with the administration, it is in public interest that CBI probes the case.