Mumbai: Ready for trial in Dabholkar, Pansare cases: CBI, SIT to HC

The Central Bureau of Investigation and Special Investigating Team of Maharashtra CID told Bombay High Court on Tuesday that they were ready for trial in the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the CBI, and senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, who appeared for the SIT, said both the agencies had sought an interim stay on the trial in both cases in 2016.

The agencies had objected to the framing of charges at the time since the CBI, which was investigating the Dabholkar case, was awaiting forensic reports on the bullets recovered from the scene of the both the killings.

The special court had granted a stay at the time and the stay was extended from time to time.

ASG Singh and advocate Mundargi said the stay had been vacated subsequently, and this morning they had withdrawn their applications through which they had sought the stay.

"We are ready for framing of charges and the beginning of trial in both the cases," ASG Singh said, while advocate Mundargi made the same statement on behalf of the SIT, which is investigating the Pansare case.

On March 12, the bench had asked both the agencies to make a clear statement on when they were likely to complete their probe into both the cases.

At the time, HC had also asked how was it that the trial in the killing of rationalist MM Kalburgi had begun in Karnataka while investigations in the Pansare and Dabholkar cases were yet to be completed, even though the incident in Karnataka took place much later than the ones in Maharashtra.

On Tuesday, ASG Singh told a bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale that the court in Karnataka was only hearing some related miscellaneous applications, and that the charge sheet in the (Kalburgi) case was yet to be filed.

Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune while on a morning walk.

Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20.

Kalburgi was shot dead in Karnataka on August 30, 2015.

The agencies probing the three cases have said in court on previous occasions that these had some common links and accused persons.

Bombay HC has been hearing petitions filed by the kin of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking that the court monitor the probe into both cases.

On Tuesday, the petitioners' counsel, Abhay Nevagi, said that in the Pansare case, of the 12 accused persons, 10 had been arrested and two were still absconding.

Nevagi said while the agencies were ready for trial, the SIT must be directed to continue with its investigation and make attempts to arrest the absconding accused.

HC said it was given the agencies would continue with their probe if accused remained absconding even as the trial began.

HC is likely to hear the plea further on April 15.

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