Coming down heaving on the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare, the Bombay High Court Thursday described the investigating officer of the case as “inefficient” and that the agency’s work has been reduced to a “laughing stock”. It summoned the state additional secretary (home) on March 28 to explain the “attitude of the investigating officer” of the case.
Also, while observing that “we should be proud of our thinkers, writers, socialist and rationalists”, the HC said that “those not ready to protect their people, should not contest elections”.
A Division Bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice B P Colabawalla was hearing petitions into the murders of Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, filed by their family members, seeking court supervision of probes conducted by the centre and state agencies.
On Thursday, two reports were submitted in sealed envelopes by the CBI, investigating the murder of Dabholkar, and the SIT, probing the murder of Pansare.
The HC said there is nothing in the Pansare report and that the agency’s work of arresting the accused has been reduced to a “laughing stock”. Maintaining that there is “no progress” but the “same old story”, it said that “if the gentleman (investigating officer) can’t do anything, then he should give away (the case), if not, then we will”.
Justice Dharmadhikari said that it is time that the agency realises that the delay will affect it, as the accused, who have not been arrested, are happy outside, left to complete their unfinished jobs. The agency must be serious about completing its investigation, the court added.
The court noted that it is “unfortunate” that it has to look into minute parts of the probe. “If accused is brought to book on court’s intervention, then it is the tragedy of this country. What message are we sending to society?” “We don’t think that the investigating officer is efficient and the court has given enough chance to carry out investigation,” it added.
While directing the additional secretary (Home) to appear before the court, it said that “let the state as a body feel pressure”. “Poor trial courts have no control because you don’t listen. Their criticism means nothing to you. You must also face the consequences,” the bench added.
The SIT counsel requested the court not to pass such an order. The counsel said that “the officer has been dedicated towards his work” and another report will be filed soon. CBI counsel Anil Singh also said that it is because of this officer that progress has been made in this case. While asking the counsels why they were obliging the officer, the bench said that it has been five years that the agency is working on this case. “We must give an impression that nobody is spared here (in the court), may it be the officer or a politician, this reminder has to be given,” the court added.
“Political outfit has limited power, they cannot dictate terms,” it said.