The Bombay High Court Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after activist Ketan Tirodkar sought a probe by the agency instead of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the murder of anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dhabholkar.
In September 2013, he had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking transfer of probe from the state police to NIA. A division bench comprising Justice P V Hardas and Justice A S Gadkari allowed the petitioner to amend his petition to include CBI as a respondent instead of NIA.
Tirodkar argued that NIA had restricted jurisdiction as compared to the CBI. He said the NIA dealt only with terror cases, while the CBI had wider powers. He said the High Court had earlier handed over murder cases to CBI such as that of RTI activist Satish Shetty and builder Amit Rane, both from Pune.
The Pune crime branch had earlier told the court there was no evidence to support allegations that Hindu right-wing extremists were behind the murder of Dabholkar and there was no need to hand over the probe to NIA. They also said Dabholkar was never under threat and there was no question of monitoring his activities.
Rajendra Bhamare, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Pune Crime Branch, had said the contention that it was the handiwork of right-wing extremists was based only on presumptions or petitioner’s imagination, which is not supported by factual evidence. He had opposed transfer of probe to NIA as the offence did not come under the purview of the NIA Act. NIA, too, had said it cannot probe Dabholkar’s murder as the offence fell under Indian Penal Code and was not covered by the NIA Act.