Dabholkar-Pansare murder cases: HC asks CBI, SIT how long probe will take

Observing that the citizens must know how sensitive cases are being probed by prime agencies in the country, the Bombay High Court on Friday asked the CBI and the state SIT to spell out exactly when it would complete the investigations into the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

Notably, the petitions seeking HC-monitored probe in the killings, came up for hearing before a bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Manish Pitale after more than a year's time.

The petitions were last heard in February 2020 by another bench headed by Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari.

On Friday when the matter came up for hearing, the judges informed additional solicitor general Anil Singh for CBI and senior counsel Ashok Mundargi for the SIT that the matter has been specially assigned to their bench.

"Thus, we want to know what the status of the probe is," Justice Shinde said.

To this, ASG Singh replied that since this was a sudden listing, he would need instructions from the agency.

The judges noted that the last time it was informed that the agency is trying to trace the weapon, a country made pistol from Thane Creek, where the assailants allegedly disposed the weapon.

Intervening amid the proceedings, advocate Abhay Nevagi for the Dabholkar-Pansare families told the judges that the matter is progressing at a very slow pace in the state.

"In fact, there were similar killings in Karnataka wherein activist M M Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh were killed. But the trial in both the cases have almost begun," Nevagi informed.

Shocked over the submission, Justice Shinde said, "This is shocking. We do not want to cast any aspersions on your (CBI and SIT) probe but the citizens must know how these sensitive cases are being probed."

The Bench, accordingly, adjourned the matter for further hearing next week.

While Dabholkar was shot dead in August 2013, Pansare was killed in 2015.

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