Pansare case: Want to celebrate murder anniversaries or solve them, HC to CBI, cops

The Bombay High Court slammed the state police and CBI for the slow investigation in the rationalist’s murder case

The Bombay High Court yesterday slammed the Maharashtra Police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for their lackadaisical investigation into the murders of rationalist Govind Pansare. The court also took up the slow investigation into murder cases of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and scholar MM Kalburgi.

Govind Pansare (left), Narendra Dabolkar (top) and M M Kalburgi (above)
Govind Pansare (left), Narendra Dabolkar (top) and M M Kalburgi (above)

“Are you going to celebrate anniversary after anniversary of these murders and keep filing status reports on the investigations? Despite being competent, you have not done anything in all the murders,” said an HC bench comprising Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi while hearing two petitions — one filed by Smita Pansare, daughter-in-law of Govind Pansare, asking for a fair investigation, and another by activist Ketan Tirodkar, who demanded that like the Dabolkar case, the Pansare case be transferred to the CBI.

Special public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde told the bench that the Pansare case investigation had slowed down as the police are awaiting a report from the central forensic laboratory in New Delhi. “The CBI, the Karnataka Police and the Maharashtra Police had met after similarities were found in the three murders. At the meeting, it was decided that bullets from all the cases will be sent to the forensic laboratory in New Delhi by the CBI to ascertain the similarities. We are awaiting the results. A chargesheet has already been filed in Pansare’s case.”

To this, Justice Dharmadhikari questioned, “When did you submit the bullets to CBI?” And when the bench was told that it was in Februray, Dharmadhikari said, “This kind of state of affairs is not acceptable. None of the three cases has been investigated till date. Are you investigating similarities or crimes? Despite being competent agencies, everybody is sitting on it. This is a crime against society and needs to be investigated.”

“Now, people have started thinking that until the high court intervenes, investigations don’t progress,” he added.

Moreover, Smita Pansare’s lawyer told the court that a local court hearing the Pansare case hasn’t granted the police permission to send the bullets to Delhi. He further added that out of the three eyewitnesses in the case, the statement of only one has been recorded till date.

Also, after the murder, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that since the CCTV camera footage of the murder was blurred, it would be sent to London to make it clearer. “What has happened to the footage? We don’t have any clue?” questioned Pansare’s lawyer.

Smita Pansare also appealed to the court against Tirodkar’s PIL demanding that their case not be transferred to CBI like the Dabholkar murder case and asked that accused Sameer Gaikwad’s trial be stayed. “I am in jail since last seven months and they want a stay on the trial,” said Sanjeev Punalekar, Gaikwad’s lawyer.

The HC bench ordered both the state and CBI through Attorney General Anil Singh to file a detailed report on the progress of the investigations by Tuesday.

About the Dabolkar case, Singh could not provide any update saying that the investigation officer of the case was in Chennai and was not able to update him on the matter.

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