The Bombay High Court Friday allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to start a fresh investigation into the murder of Talegaon-based RTI activist Satish Shetty. While the case was earlier transferred from the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to the CBI, the probe into an alleged land scam connected to his murder was still with the police.
“If the state is not keen to transfer (the probe), we will transfer it,” a bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode said.
Shetty (39) was murdered on January 13, 2010, as he stepped out of his house in Talegaon area for a morning walk. He was stabbed by assailants who disappeared from the scene and have remained untraceable since. The case was first with the Pune rural police. It was transferred to CBI on April 6, 2010, after the slain activist’s brother, Sandeep Shetty, moved the Bombay High Court.
CBI’s lawyer Hiten Venegaonkar submitted in the court that though the agency had taken over the probe into the activist’s murder, investigation into Satish’s complaint registered with the police on October 15, 2009, needed to be investigated.
Venegaonkar told the court that the CBI had asked the state for the transfer of probe, but the latter had not taken a decision on it. He, therefore, sought from the court a fresh investigation into the complaint, after submitting that the “motive” behind the murder required to be probed.
Shetty had alleged that an infrastructure company had connived with government officials to purchase land in villages along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. He had alleged massive irregularities in the deal. However, the Lonavla police had later filed a closure report in the matter, saying there was no truth in the allegations.
“Prima facie, it appears that the ‘motive’ behind the murder was the complaint lodged by him against different persons regarding forgery and cheating in the matter of the illegal purchase of government land in village Pimpaloli, Maval Taluka of Pune district,” read the CBI’s petition.
Appearing for the state, advocate Jayesh Yagnik three weeks to reply to the CBI’s petition.
“The petition (of CBI) has been pending since 2013. Several opportunities were given to the state to file its reply. However, it has not filed it. It will be appropriate that investigation sought in the said petition is granted to the CBI,” said the judges.
The court also directed the CBI to file a status report of the investigation after four weeks.