The Bombay High Court on Thursday sought to know from Maharashtra government if it has decided to seek a CBI probe in the Govind Pansare murder case as claimed by the lawyer of family of the slain activist, even as the prosecutor said he has no such instruction so far.
The high court also came down heavily on the CID and the CBI, probing the Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar murder cases respectively, for slow progress.
The Pansare family had approached the Maharashtra government seeking CBI probe in the matter and yesterday the state government consented, lawyer Abhay Nevgi, representing the family of the slain communist leader, informed HC bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi.
However, Public Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde told the court that he does not have any instruction from the government regarding this. To this, the HC directed Shinde to find out if the government has taken a decision to refer the probe to CBI, and if it has done so, then tell the court the reasons behind it.
The bench, which is hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the families of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking monitoring by HC in both the murder probes, later adjourned the matter for six weeks.
"Now that the CBI has arrested someone in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case, Pansare's family also wants CBI to probe their case and the state government is also promptly saying OK let it go...let it be off my shoulder...one headache= gone," the HC said.
Notably, the CBI had recently arrested Sanatan Sanstha activist Virendra Tawde from Navi Mumbai in connection with the murder of anti-superstition crusader Dabholkar.
While Dabholkar was killed in August 2013, Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. The CBI and CID have been submitting periodical progress reports to HC.
The CBI had earlier said it was probing the role of right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha in the murder.
The high court, after perusing the reports submitted by both CBI and CID with regard to the progress of probe in both the murder cases, said it was not completely satisfied with the pace of investigations.
"We are not impressed by these reports. The agencies ought to be careful and sensitive as murder cases need to be initiated and concluded bearing in mind that it is a crime against the society. Two eminent individuals have lost their lives on account of their work and ideology, hence at stake is a larger interest of freedom of speech, expression and views," the high court observed.