Mumbai: Observing that it could not go on 'endlessly', the Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to expeditiously take a decision on the plea filed by slain activist Govind Pansare’s family seeking to transfer the probe into his killing from the Crime Investigation Department (CID) to the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).
On February 16, 2015, Pansare was shot in Kolhapur. He succumbed to his injuries on February 20.
The HC was hearing two petitions and several applications filed by the family members of Pansare and slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, seeking that the court monitor the probe into the two killings. The state CID is probing Pansare's case, whereas the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing Dabholkar's murder.
The petition filed by Pansare’s family alleged that there existed a larger conspiracy in the killings of Pansare, Dabholkar, Kannada academic and activist MM Kalburgi, and journalist Gauri Lankesh.
During the hearing on Thursday, special public prosecutor Ashok Mundargi sought time to respond to the plea and to file a status report on the investigation.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh granted one week’s time but remarked that the decision has to be taken expeditiously.
Justice Dere said: “We will grant you time till 1st (August 1) but we hope and expect some decision is taken. We can't wait endlessly, we want some decision to be taken.”
The court then granted the State time till August 1, 2022 to decide on whether or not it was agreeing for the transfer and to file a status report on
Abhay Nevagi, advocate for Pansare’s family, said that the government was acting only when the court gave an order or direction.
To this, Mundargi said, "That is not true but the government should be there first.”
Nevagi further argued that the CID was yet to make any headway in the case even after seven years.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the bail plea filed by Virendra Tawade, who has been arrested by the CBI for killing Dabholkar. Th3e court orally observed that that it was not inclined to grant bail but would expedite the trial in the case.
So far, eight of the 32 witnesses have been examined in the case.
The HC has asked the CBI to file its affidavit giving the approximate time it would take for the remaining witnesses to be examined.