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Bombay High Court pulls up ATS for ‘botched’ Dabholkar murder probe

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court recently came down heavily on the officers of the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), who had initially probed the murder case of Narendra Dabholkar. The HC has asked the Maharashtra police authorities to conduct an inquiry against these officials, who allegedly arrested wrong persons and left the actual culprits walk free.

A division bench of Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre said, “We would like to find out as to whether there was any deliberate act on the part of those investigating officers who initially arrested these persons and made the recoveries and seizure, but thereafter let these individuals responsible go scot-free. Whether these officials were merely making a show or farce of the investigations were allegedly a part of those who organised the commission of the crime?”

“That is why the investigating agencies were allegedly misled into arresting some persons and making these recoveries. Let, therefore, the superiors in the Maharashtra Police and the CBI take note of this,” the judges added.


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These observations were made in response to an affidavit filed by advocate Abhay Nevagi contending that an attempt was made by the investigating officers then in charge to mislead the CBI, which overtook the probe from the ATS.

Justice Dharmadhikari said, “We hope and trust that the contention of the petitioners saying people would lose faith in the investigating agency is taken note of seriously by the concerned officials in the investigating machinery. We have also found and in the passing we must bring it to the notice of the superior officers in the investigating machinery that whenever there are lapses committed by those who are members of the police force or these investigating machinery, they are not promptly inquired or probed.”

“If any particular member of the force is negligent or responsible for a lapse resulting in the accused absconding, then, we hope and expect that the superiors would initiate disciplinary proceedings and bring the guilty officials to book. It is a serious misconduct and ought to be viewed as such by these superiors. If the members of the police force have not taken speedy action and which resulted in the accused absconding or avoiding arrests successfully for nearly eight years, then, even now the authorities must gear themselves up,” Justice Dharmadhikari added.

The judges also suggested the police authorities not to assign a responsible task to such errant officials. The judges also said that if such officials are due for promotion or likely to be posted to sensitive and important posts, then these observations must be taken into consideration.

Posting the matter for further hearing in Decembers, the judges asked the Maharashtra police as well as the CBI to file a report spelling out if any action has been initiated against any official yet.

The judges were hearing a batch of petitions filed by the family members of Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, seeking the court to monitor the probe.

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