MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday censured the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Crime Investigation Department of the Maharashtra police for their failure in tracing the killers of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.
The court asked them to ‘look beyond their current line of probe’ and file fresh reports on the progress during the next hearing on September 13.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the kin of the deceased that sought the court’s monitoring of the probe into the killing of the two rationalists. The two agencies filed their progress reports before the court. Referring to the reports, the Bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Vibha Kankanwadi said that the perpetrators appear to have the backing of some prominent organisations or persons in the society.
“The reports reveal that these were clearly not one or two stray incidents. Certain organizations must be backing them, helping them financially. These incidents were well planned,” said Justice Dharmadhikari.
“There is a clear nexus between the two murders. These men must have some roots in the society.
Coordinate with the state CID, use modern technology, look at bank transactions, ATM withdrawals, check rail bookings, there are just four or five states with porous borders to which these men could have fled,” Justice Dharmadhikari directed the investigating agencies while referring to the fact that Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, who allegedly gunned down Dabholkar in 2013 were still to be traced.
“It is impossible for someone to remain in hiding for so long today,” he said.
The investigating agencies, however, maintained that they were hunting for the killers even as the court directed the petitioners to submit an affidavit listing their demand that the state Home Secretary and the CBI director be made directly accountable for the probe.
Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013, in Pune. Pansare and his wife were shot at on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur and he succumbed to his injuries four days later.
Narendra Achyut Dabholkar was an Indian medical doctor, rationalist and author. In 1989, he founded and became president of the Maharashtra Anti-Superstition Association.
Govind Pansare was a veteran leader from the Comunist Party of India. He wrote the best selling Marathi language biography of 17th century ruler Shivaji, 'Shivaji Kon Hota'.