The Bombay High Court Thursday pulled up the government for failing to look into the post-mortem report and the possibility of live bullets being fired at farmers in Maval near Pune in August 2011.
The petitioner in the case told the court that the reports submitted by him showed that a woman was killed by a bullet fired by the then superintendent of police Sandip Karnik from a rifle. The court said while the fact was not considered by the MG Gaikwad commission, which probed the incident, even the state did not look into the aspect.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist I G Khandelwal, seeking an FIR against Sandip Karnik, who led the team at Maval. Karnik was the first to open fire, report said.
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The fact that live bullets killed the woman identified as Kantabai Thakar came to light after a post-mortem examination was conducted right after the incident. Petitioner’s reports were submitted before the court on Thursday. “If there is a case where the commission has not considered this, it is the duty of the state to look into it. It is the responsibility of the state to satisfy us,” said Justices A S Oka and A P Bhangale, further directing the state government to address the issue within a week.
In an earlier hearing, Khandelwal had claimed that one woman was “victim to shots fired by Karnik”. Khandelwal told The Indian Express on Thursday, “I have submitted before the HC a ballistic report, the weapon allotment chart, a panchnama and autopsy reports of the victims. All these documents show that though a revolver was allotted to Karnik, he used a self-loading rifle from a state reserved police force man and fired at the mob. It was the bullet fired by him from the rifle that killed Kantabai.”
The Pune rural police had opened fire at agitators during a Maval bandh called against a Rs 400-crore pipeline. Three persons — Kantabai Thakar (40), Moreshwar Sathe, 40 and Shyam Tupe, 29 — had died in the firing, while nine others suffered bullet injuries.
A one-member commission headed by Justice (retired) M G Gaikwad had concluded that the firing was not justified and had indicted four officers – Karnik and inspectors Ashok Patil, Yashwant Gawari and PSI Ganesh Mane.
Kantabai’s son Nitin Thakar said they felt the revelations added value to what they had been saying since the incident. “I was there when my mother was killed. I saw Sandeep Karnik fire from his gun and had said the same before the commission too. Today, it has been proved that I was right,” he said. Thakar demanded that the government now file a criminal case against Karnik and immediately take action.