While transferring the probe in Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Govind Pansare's murder case to the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) from state Crime Investigation Department (CID), the Bombay High Court observed that there has been no "major headway" or "breakthrough" in the investigation into the 2015 killing.
On February 16, 2015, Pansare was shot in Kolhapur and he succumbed to injuries on February 20.
On August 3, a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh had directed that the case be transferred from a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CID to the ATS.
The detailed order copy was made available later.
In its detailed order, the bench noted the transfer to the ATS was necessitated to enable them to look at the investigation from their angle, as enough and more than sufficient time was given to the SIT by the HC. "It is necessary that the investigation is taken to its logical end, failing which, the perpetrators of the crime would be emboldened," the court said in its order.
An SIT was set up in 2015 following an order from HC on a plea filed by Pansare's family. A few persons have been arrested in the case.
The activist’s family had filed an application recently seeking that the probe be transferred to the ATS as it had, in 2018, nabbed some persons from Nalasopara (in Palghar district) who were later found to be linked to the Pansare case and also to the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, activist M Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The bench, while allowing the application, noted that "the wait for the family of Comrade Pansare has been long".
“No doubt, SIT has taken steps. However, we do not find any major headway being made in the said investigation. Despite the efforts of the officers of SIT, there is no breakthrough,” the court said adding: “The HC has been monitoring the investigation since 2016. The SIT has been regularly submitting reports with respect to steps taken to nab the shooters. However, till date, they are absconding.”
There is a legitimate expectation not only for the family of Comrade Pansare but also the public at large to see that the perpetrators of the ghastly crime are brought to book, the HC said.
The HC has directed the ATS Additional Director General of Police (ADG) to constitute a team of officers on similar lines as was done earlier by the SIT. The ATS team must include some of SIT officers who have been investigating the said case and are in the know-how of the investigation carried out till date, the court said.
The ATS team has to be set up within a week and kept the matter for further hearing on August 20 when the ADG (ATS) has been asked to submit a compliance report to the court.