MUMBAI : The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the transfer of the investigation into the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A division bench headed by Justice P V Hardas was hearing a public interest litigation filed by former journalist and social activist Ketan Tirodkar seeking a CBI probe into the case. The case was being investigated by Pune police earlier. However, the PIL claimed that there was no headway by the Pune police in the case.

Dabholkar was shot to death by some unidentified men on motorcycle while he was out on a morning walk near Omkareshwar bridge in Pune on August 20 last year. It was suspected that this was the work of right-wing groups, who felt threatened by his work.

The lawyer representing CBI contended that there was no need to transfer the probe to the investigating agency as no allegations had been levied against the State or police for shoddy investigations.

Dabholkar’s daughter Mukta, who has been allowed to intervene, had said the family wanted the court to monitor the probe. She had in a previous hearing demanded formation of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) as police were not making any progress. She had said that her family felt the need for precaution against political interference in the investigation.

“Even if no allegations were made against authorities, the probe in a criminal case could be transferred to CBI if it has national or international ramifications,” Tirodkar argued.

“His violent death was a reminder of the depths to which discourses around culture had fallen in the state,” read Tirodkar’s PIL.

Mukta’s application said her family felt that some precaution against political interference in the investigation was necessary due to the nature of the crime and in view of the coming elections.

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