The Bombay High Court Wednesday refused to stay framing of charges and subsequent trial against the sole accused arrested in the CPI leader Govind Pansare murder case. The court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the murder of activist Narendra Dabholkar, to give its status report on May 2. Both the CBI and the state Crime Investigation Department (CID), which is investigating Pansare’s case, were pulled up for not making any breakthroughs in the cases.
During proceedings, the CID sought “reasonable time”, citing the ongoing investigation. Its lawyer, Shinde, said the trial court was more likely to start the trial on April 29. However, he said a third opinion on ballistics was awaited since there were similarities in the modus operandi in the murders of Pansare, Dabholkar and Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi.
For Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, however, the absence of a concrete finding in these cases was a matter of concern. “You investigate the crime or the similarities?” asked the bench, insisting that the current state of affairs had to stop. The participation of the victims’ family members, besides a public interest litigation, was taken by the court in distaste. “The crime is against the society. How does it happen that we keep entertaining the family, the public and now even the accused.”
The sole accused arrested in the Pansare case is Sameer Gaikwad. His lawyer had filed an application in the court seeking progress in the case in the trial court as his client has been languishing behind bars for a long time.
While dismissing his application, the court directed that the trial should proceed under the relevant provision of the Criminal Procedure Code. Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2014 in Pune and Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and died on February 20. The petitioner’s lawyer Abhay Nevagi, said the CBI should depute officers to Scotland Yard to get inputs from them.
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