Amid mounting criticism over police failure to nab rationalist Narendra Dabholkar's killers, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday said the state government was doing "all it can" to solve the murder case which has let to public outrage in the state.
"We are making concerted efforts...we are doing everything possible, to nab the killers and the "sutradhar" (kingpin) behind the murder," Chavan said.
He was speaking at a condolence meeting for the slain rationalist, at Vidhan Bhawan this evening, organised by the Mantralaya Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh and TV Journalists Association.
"A lot of people have been interrogated.. several phone records have been checked," the chief minister said.
"I feel very sad that despite our desire to get the (anti-superstition) legislation passed, we could not do so," Chavan said.
The chief minister dismissed allegations that the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra wasn't serious enough to get the bill passed in state legislature.
"Had we not been serious, we would not have got the amended draft legislation (on black magic and inhuman religious rituals) approved in the state cabinet in April 2013," he said.
"Dr Dabholkar had been fighting for the cause for a long time. In 2005, a law was drafted and introduced in the state Legislature.... There were some differences of views. A committee under Justice Dharmadhikari was appointed," he said.
The amended bill was introduced in state Legislature in 2011, he said. "Everywhere the word "andhashraddha" (superstition) appeared in the bill, it was removed. And Dabholkar had generously agreed to it," Chavan said.