MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court, which had reprimanded the Pune police earlier this week for disclosing details of the ‘evidence’ in the case involving the arrests of activists, on Thursday came down heavily on the CBI and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Maharashtra Police for revealing details of the Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare murder cases.
A Bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and B P Colabawalla, which is hearing the petitions filed by family members of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking court supervision into the probes being carried out by the CBI (in Dabholkar case) and the SIT (in Pansare case), observed that such “over-enthusiasm could be fatal”.
Expressing displeasure over the reports appearing in the media about the details of investigations, the HC Bench said: “What is all this hue and cry going on? What are these reports coming in the Press, at whose instance are they coming? We hope you know these are crucial stages. There seems to be total lack of maturity on the behalf of media and family members of the deceased. We are not happy with what is going on.”
The court warned the CBI and SIT officers to not divulge case details to the media. By disclosing information to the media, the police was alerting the accused, it said.
“Such self-praise and self-patting on the back by the police machinery is not advisable. We see daily there is information in the Press regarding such sensitive cases. At whose instance is information being given to the media?” Justice Dharmadhikari questioned, referring to the recent Press conference addressed by additional DGP Parambir Singh.
The Bench, which had earlier expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which CBI and SIT was probing the cases, also asked the agencies to be extra cautious and not abandon their independent probes, going on for five years, because of arrest of some accused, which they are now claiming to be prime accused in the two cases.
It then posted the matter for further hearing on October 10, directing both the investigation agencies to submit fresh progress reports.
The lawyers appearing on behalf of the investigating agencies assured the court that the agency advocates and officers have been instructed not to share probe details. After which the bench reminded them, "Even the accused have certain rights. It is not the accused who have to prove the case against them. Accused today, may not be convicts tomorrow, it is a tedious process, their (accused) and family members will be affected."
The ATS had recently made several arrests in connection with the Nalasopara arms haul of which, the CBI got custody of two - Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure, whom the agency has termed suspects in Dabholkar Murder case. The CBI had previously said that Virendrasinh Tawde was the kingpin of the case.