MUMBAI: Almost two months after the CBI had complained of shortage of staff, the Maharashtra government on Thursday deputed a team of seven police officers to assist the investigation agency to probe the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar.
It is a rare thing for the CBI to take assistance from the police in their investigation. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio, took the decision after Dabholkar’s followers protested against the government’s apathy in finding his killers on his second death anniversary . “The police team will assist the CBI till the investigation in the case gets over,” Fadnavis said.
The CM revealed that the team includes one Additional Police Commissioner, two Inspectors and four Sub Inspectors. The CBI, which took over investigation in the case following an order from the Bombay High Court, had complained that it could not fast-track the probe since it did not have adequate staff.
Dabholkar’s followers on Thursday observed his second death anniversary by staging protests across the state. The students of Mumbai University staged a street play depicting the rationalist’s murder in Pune.
Dabholkar’s son Hameed visited the Shanivar Peth police post in Pune, which is situated at a stone’s throw from where he was gunned down, on the fateful morning. “There was no policeman in this post two years ago when the killers had shot dead my father. I didn’t find any policeman there even today(Thursday),” Hameed said.
The Congress has alleged that Fadnavis’ apathy was to blame for the slow progress of the investigation in the case. “I don’t think the CBI will be able to crack the case till the time Fadnavis is in charge of the Home Department,” said senior Congress leader Narayan Rane.
Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde too blamed Fadnavis.
“The CM had said in the Vidhan Sabha that the investigation into Dabholkar’s murder case was in its final stages and he could not reveal anything on that since it could tip-off the killers. Now, he himself has proved that his statement was nothing but an eyewash,” Munde said.
March for justice
■ Activists of Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti on Thursday took out a march on the second death anniversary of Dabholkar
■ He was gunned down by unidentified men during his morning walk
■ The marchers were led by Dabholkar’s son Hamid and daughter Mukta who have taken up the cause for which their dad fought