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Dabholkar murder: HC reserves order on PIL seeking CBI probe

CBI counsel cited an SC judgement, which said that if no allegations were levelled against authorities, then there was no need to transfer investigations in a criminal case

The Bombay High Court yesterday reserved its order on a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar last year.


Dabholkar was shot dead by unknown assailants in Pune on August 20, 2013

The order was reserved by a bench headed by Justice P V Hardas, after CBI lawyer contended that there was no need to transfer the probe to the investigating agency, as no allegations had been levelled against the state or police for shoddy investigations.

CBI counsel Rebecca Gonsalves cited a Supreme Court judgement which said that if no allegations were levelled against the authorities, then there was no need to transfer investigations in a criminal case. The petitioner Ketan Tirodkar pleaded that 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.

In this case, he said, the probe was spread over to two other states, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, besides Maharashtra. Police also had information that accused had fled to Dubai and were hiding there, he claimed.

Tirodkar, a former journalist, also cited the judgement in the case of NCP leader Padamsinh Patil — who is accused in a murder case — saying the probe was transferred to CBI by the court even though there was no comment on the role of police.

On the last occasion, CBI had told the court that it was considering taking over the probe in this case, and sought time to file a reply. However, yesterday, CBI counsel said there was no need to transfer the probe to the agency as there were no allegations against authorities concerned. Pune police had earlier submitted case diaries and confidential reports to the court.

After going through them, the judges sought to know the status of the probe, and asked CBI what its stand was. The government had also informed that so far the main conspirators had not been arrested, and those, who were arrested, had got bail.

Dabholkar’s daughter Mukta, who has been allowed to intervene, said the family wanted the HC to monitor the probe. She had earlier demanded formation of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) as police were not making any headway. She had said that her family felt the need for precaution against political interference in the investigation. Dabholkar was shot dead by unknown assailants in Pune on August 20, 2013.                                                                                             

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