The Centre wants the 10 people arrested for the murder of additional district collector Yashwant Sonawane to be booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
The Centre is set to recommend to the Maharashtra government to try to the accused under the MCOCA to send a strong signal that those guilty for such acts will not be spared.
The move follows a series of high-level meetings.
“This was an organised crime and needs to be dealt with firmly. The view is that provisions of MCOCA aptly apply to this case,” said a senior official requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The Maharashtra government has also said that it would consider invoking the MCOCA against the accused.
The Centre is relying on the 1980 Supreme Court judgement in the Bachan Singh case, in which the apex court ruled that if the murder committed was that of a member of the armed forces or the police or a public servant on duty belonging to either the Centre or the state, then the discretion of sentencing the guilty to death should be applied.
Section 3 of the MCOCA provides “whoever commits an offence of the organised crime shall, if such offence has resulted in the death of any person, be punished with death or imprisonment for life”.
Under the MCOCA, confessions made before the police can be considered as evidence in court.
The accused have a little chance of being released on bail and the case is heard in a special court during a time-bound trial.
The government is also considering providing powers given to the police to departments that have to carry out raids.
“A task force may be constituted in the home ministry to identify those laws whose implementation, including investigation of violations, could be transferred to the implementing departments. A similar force should look into the state laws in each state,” states a law ministry note.
The ministry note states that the police are overburdened with checking crime and such specific offences should be taken away from them.