Family members of slain rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, who was murdered in Pune in August 2013, have now approached the Bombay High Court through a writ petition requesting it to monitor the probe being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
They have alleged that the CBI doesn’t seem to be serious about the investigation and questioned the transfer of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) who was the investigating officer in the case.
Hamid Dabholkar, son of the slain rationalist, said that although it’s been over a year since the premier investigation agency in the country took over the investigation, there seemed very little progress on the ground.
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“The investigating officer (IO) appointed to probe the case by the CBI doesn’t know Marathi. Hence, he took his time to translate the documents and evidence which was prepared by the Pune Police (which had been probing the case for a year before it was handed over to CBI) from Marathi to Hindi or English. This took up several months. D S Chauhan, the investigating officer, strangely decided to conduct the probe sitting in Mumbai while the CBI has two offices in Pune. All that has been done so far in the case, which we know of, is to release of sketches of the suspects. They haven’t even questioned the members of the associations that we suspect could have been behind the murder,” Hamid said, adding that this prompted them to file a writ petition with the HC requesting it to supervise the investigation.
Dabholkar was shot dead by two unidentified persons around 7.10 am on August 20, 2013, on the bridge near Omkareshwar temple, where he along with his wife had gone for a morning walk.
While investigating the case, the Pune police had arrested two arms dealers, Manish Nagori (24) and Vilas Khandelwal (22), on the basis of ballistic reports and said the two had supplied the weapon used in the crime.
Several doubts had emerged about the claim by the Pune Police, which failed to gather evidence against the duo and failed to file a chargesheet which led to their release. The case was handed over to CBI by the Bombay High Court in May 2014.
Apart from asking the HC to supervise the investigation, the Dabholkar family has also requested the court to “fix some accountability on the investigating agencies” for undue delay and failure to carry out prompt investigation.
Advocate Abhay Nevagi, who is representing the Dabholkar family, has sought clubbing of this petition with another submitted by the family of slain Communist leader Govind Pansare, who was gunned down in Kolhapur in February 2015. The petition is likely to be heard next week.
‘No response from PM despite repeated pleas’
Hamid Dabholkar said he was disappointed by the “apathy” shown by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, despite being sent several communications, has refused to take the cognisance or even do so much as give them a hearing.
Hamid said that since the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is under the Ministry of Personnel, Pension and Public Grievances, a portfolio held by the PM himself, the family members and colleagues of late Dabholkar wanted to meet the PM to apprise him of the “casual attitude” of the investigating agency, but they could not secure an appointment.
“We wrote to him twice and received acknowledgment of our letters, but there was no reply from him. We also travelled to Delhi once, hoping to meet him, but we didn’t get an appointment. We have met Maharashtra CM five times and he has told us he has personally told the PM about the case. Despite all this, there seems to be no response from the PM. We didn’t have any other option but to seek a respite from the Court,” said Hamid.