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Rationalist case apathy

Bombay High Court asked whether the Maharashtra chief minister did not have time to take stock of the cases

By PTI in Mumbai
  • Published 29.03.19, 2:11 AM
  • Updated 29.03.19, 2:11 AM
  • a min read
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Narendra Dabholkar Source: Wikipedia

Bombay High Court on Thursday expressed displeasure over the pace of the probe into the killing of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, asking whether the Maharashtra chief minister did not have time to take stock of the cases.

It is “shameful” that almost every investigation requires the court’s intervention, a bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and B.P. Colabawala said. The CBI is probing the Dabholkar killing, while the state CID is investigating the Pansare murder.

“What is the CM doing? He holds 11 portfolios, including home, but does not find the time to take stock of the case. His deputies do not have the time to remove obstacles in the probe?” the court said.

Noting that a political leader belonged to the state and not just a party, the court said: “It is a sovereign function and cannot be outsourced.”

Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP is the chief minister of Maharashtra.

Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013, in Pune while on a morning walk. Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20.

The court made the remarks after CID lawyer Ashok Mundargi submitted that the agency had doubled the strength of the special investigation team (SIT) probing the Pansare case. He said there were 35 officers in the team now.

“Top officers reviewed the case thoroughly recently. Five meetings have been held in the past few months, and the reward announced for any information on the absconding accused has been increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh,” Mundargi said.

The high court dismissed the submissions, saying these were “knee-jerk reactions” taken only after it made some adverse remarks during the previous hearing.