Why haven’t trials in Dabholkar, Pansare murders begun, asks HCUpdated: Feb 14, 2020 00:53 IST
The Bombay high court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday why trials in the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare have not started yet.
“These are crimes committed in 2013 and 2015. This is the seventh year after the incident [Dabholkar’s murder],” said the division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and RI Chagla. “Why has the trial not started yet, if you have filed everything, including the charge sheet?” the bench asked additional solicitor general Anil Singh, representing CBI. “The accused people also have certain lives. There is a presumption in their favour… innocent until proven guilty. They must know where they stand and cannot be asked to wait indefinitely,” said the bench. “The credibility of the criminal justice system is at stake. We should not wait till the public loses complete faith in the system,” the judges added.
The comments came after Singh told the bench that the search for the weapons, allegedly used to kill Dabholkar at Thane creek, was further delayed because of a technical problem. Singh said a small portion of the creek remains to be examined but as the area is rocky, some additional equipment has been called for from a foreign country. He said 15 more days will be required to receive the equipment and another 15 days for completing search in the remaining patch.
Special counsel for the state government, Ashok Mundargi, told the bench that the special investigative team (SIT) was still searching for a wanted accused in the Pansare murder case. He said the SIT will be in a position to inform the bench when the trial could be started in the Kolhapur case by March-end. He was responding to separate petitions filed by family members of Dabholkar and Pansare, seeking independent probe in the murders and court monitoring of the investigations.
Dabholkar was shot near his residence in Pune on August 20, 2013. Pansare and his wife were shot at in Kolhapur when they were out for a morning walk on February 16, 2015. Pansare succumbed to injuries four days later, while his wife survived the attack.