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In a first, Maharashtra government accepts ballistics link between rationalists’ murders

Forensic science laboratories in Gujarat and Karnataka have found a link in the three cases, said special counsel for the state government

mumbai Updated: Jan 11, 2018 22:32 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Narendra Dabholkar
Rationalist Narendra Dabholkar who was gunned down by two men in Pune.(FILE PHOTO)

For the first time, the Maharashtra government or any other government authority probing the killings of rationalists Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi said that they had found a forensic link between the murders. This happened on Thursday when Ashok Mundargi, special counsel for the state government , told a single judge bench of justice Revati Mohite-Dere of the Bombay high court that the forensic science laboratories in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka have found a link between the bullets used for killing the three rationalists.

The senior advocate also told the court that initially the Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up to probe Pansare’s murder, wanted to send the bullets for ballistic investigation to the forensic science laboratory (FSL) of the Scotland Yard. But, the bullets could not be sent there owing to technical issues. Later, they were sent to the FSLs in Gujarat and Karnataka that have found a link in the three cases.

Mundargi added that Pansare’s two assailants have been identified but both are at large. It is a case of conspiracy and unless the two are arrested, the plot cannot be unfolded, he said.

He was arguing a petition filed by the state challenging May 2016 order of the sessions court at Kolhapur to proceed with the trial of the two accused arrested in connection with the murder. The SIT had, however, opposed the proposed framing of charges by the trial court, as it wanted to conduct further investigation.

Counsels for the two accused — Sameer Gaikwad and Virendra Tawade — urged the court to vacate the stay on trial saying it would not prejudice prosecution. Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, however, refused to vacate stay on the proceedings.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 22:32 IST