The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked Maharashtra government to file its response within a week to a petition seeking constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the killing of noted activist and Communist Party of India leader Govind Pansare.
Hearing a petition filed by Pansare's family, justice Ranjit More and justice Rajesh Ketkar directed the state government to file a reply by September 9.
The petition contended that the Maharashtra police had failed to make any progress in the investigations into the murder of the CPI leader. It demanded a SIT probe while rejecting the demand for a CBI probe.
Pansare's daughter Smita and his daughter-in-law Megha filed the petition recently which came up for hearing today for the first time. Earlier, they filed an intervention application seeking the same relief in the PIL of activist Ketan Tirodkar who had sought a CBI probe into the killing.
The family rejected the demand for a CBI probe into the murder as they feared Pansare's murder case would meet the same outcome as those of killing of RTI activist Satish Shetty and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. In Shetty and Dabholkar cases, the probe have not achieved any result, the petition said.
The Pansare family demanded in the petition that the government should hold the Director-General of Police responsible for the "failure" of investigations despite formation of more than 20 teams to track down the assailants who shot Pansare outside his home in Kolhapur district on February 16. "As Pansare was vocal against the entrenchment of the right-wing ideology, we are extremely worried that the investigations may have suffered an ideological taint. Hence, we urge the formation of an SIT to be monitored by the high court," said his kin in the petition.
So far, the probe by teams has not yielded much, apart from vaguely probable sketches of the assassins and the recovery of a couple of motorbikes from Kolhapur city which were suspected to have been used in the murder, the petition added.
Pansare was gunned down outside his home in Sagar Mala locality of Kolhapur city on February 16 and succumbed to his injuries five days later in Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital.