When former RSS functionary Sunil Joshi was shot dead in Dewas on December 29, 2007, the town was on the edge with Hindu organizations giving a bandh call in protest.
Later, all the agencies from different states which were involved directly or indirectly, in the subsequent probe into the mysterious murder concluded that it was an inside job.
From the anti-terrorist squads in Maharashtra and Rajasthan to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to the Madhya Pradesh Police, the investigators were certain about the links of the alleged killers but not their motive.
This murder case was considered very important because Joshi was believed to be the prime mover in some cases of alleged Hindu terror but the case has progressed at a very slow pace.
On Saturday, a Dewas court framed charges against eight accused, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh, and indicated that the trial could begin after September 28. This is almost eight years since the crime.
Progress in the case depended less on the actual investigation and more on which political party was in power in these states or at the Centre and which agency probed it at which point in time. When the investigators were answerable to the Congress at the Centre, in Maharashtra and in Rajasthan, the BJP accused it of manipulating the probe. When the BJP came to power at the Centre and in MP, the Congress accused of it going slow in a bid to hush up the case.
The line pursued by the NIA itself changed after the change of guard at the Centre. When the UPA was in power, the agency said the case was part of a larger Hindu terror conspiracy and suggested that Joshi was killed because he would have spilled the beans.
After the NDA assumed power in May 2014, the central agency filed a closure report saying Joshi was murdered because he made licentious advances towards the Sadhvi and the case was eventually transferred to the Dewas court where the MP police had already filed a charge sheet.
Initially, the MP police under the BJP were set to close the probe till the Rajasthan police under the Congress made the first arrest. Now there are two sets of accused, different sets of killers, one charge sheet, one supplementary charge sheet and a lot of unanswered questions.
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