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Murders of rationalists: HC tells CBI, SIT to take help of other agencies to track down accused

The Bombay high court on Wednesday suggested that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) should seek help from other government agencies for obtaining clues about the absconding accused behind murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

mumbai Updated: Feb 07, 2019 00:58 IST
Hindustan Times
Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.,Gauri Lankesh
Pune, India,June 16_ Narendra Dabholkar murder on Maharshi Ramji Shinde Bridge near Onkareshwar mandir in Pune, India, on Saturday, June 16, 2007. (HT Photo / Hindustan Times)...File photo

Mumbai

The Bombay high court on Wednesday suggested that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) should seek help from other government agencies for obtaining clues about the absconding accused behind the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

For example, the division bench of Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Justice Makrand Karnik said, the sales tax department maintains information about hawala operators and it could provide some clues about the absconding accused.

The bench said it is quite possible that the absconding accused were supplied money through hawala channels and may be the data with the sales tax department may lead the investigating agencies to them.

“Kindly explore this aspect as well,” the bench requested both the CBI and the state police SIT. It was hearing petitions filed by family members of Dabholkar and Pansare for monitoring investigations in the murder cases.

Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013, while Pansare was shot in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015 and succumbed to his injuries four days later. Journalist-cum-activist Gauri Lankesh was killed in similar manner — bike-borne assailants fired at her outside her house in Bangalore on September 5, 2017. Police believe that these three killings and the murder of renowned epigraphist MM Kalburgi was the work of a right-wing group.

While CBI is investigating murder of Dabholkar, SIT is probing the murder of Comrade Pansare.

During the course of hearing on the petitions, special counsel for the state, senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, informed the bench that the SIT has identified three more accused involved in the Pansare murder case and will file by February 12, a supplementary charge-sheet naming the three additional accused— taking the total to eight.

Additional solicitor general Anil Singh told the bench that the CBI has also prepared an additional charge-sheet against the two shooters who fired at Dabholkar and it will be filed by February 13.

On Wednesday the judges were irked to note that the report submitted by the CBI was silent on involvement of an accused name by the SIT in its report and who is believed to be involved in murders of all rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka.The judges said CBI is a premier national investigating agency and as such must be mindful of the fact that the entire world is watching India, as the largest democracy of the world. The bench said the slain rationalists were not trivial people and people are anxious to know the outcome of these cases and as such proving guilt of the accused people was the main challenge for the CBI.

First Published: Feb 07, 2019 00:58 IST