Pune Police today told the Bombay High Court that there was no evidence suggesting involvement of right-wing extremists in the killing of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar.
Dabholkar,who spearheaded the anti-superstition movement in Maharashtra,was shot dead on August 20 in Pune; the police are as yet clueless about identity of the culprits.
A public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar has sought a probe by National Investigating Agency,alleging that Hindu right wing activists were involved.
A reply by police today said that Dabholkar was not known to be facing any threat,so there was no question of police preparing any threat perception report (prior to the murder) and monitoring his activities,etc.
More importantly,the contention that it was the handiwork of right wing extremists was based only on presumptions or petitioner’s own imagination which is not
supported by any factual evidence,said Rajendra Bhamare,Assistant Commissioner of Police,Pune Crime Branch,in the affidavit filed before the court.
Police also handed over to the court two reports on investigation conducted so far in sealed covers to the division bench headed by Justice P V Hardas.
The judges did not open the covers today,and said they would peruse the reports at the next hearing,posted after two weeks.
ACP Bhamare also said the offence did not fall in the purview of National Investigation Agency Act,and the probe should not be transferred to the Central agency. “Our team is not under pressure from any political figure or any activist,” the affidavit said.
NIA too had taken a similar stand when it told the court earlier that it cannot probe Dabholkar’s murder as the offence fell under the Indian Penal Code,and was not covered by the NIA Act. Meanwhile,division bench of Justice M L Tahilyani today allowed withdrawal of a petition filed by Dr Dabholkar seeking to quash a complaint of criminal defamation against him and a subsequent summons issued by a Mumbai Magistrate.
His lawyer,advocate A J Almeida,submitted that as the petitioner had passed away,the case had closed. Sanathan Bhartiya Sanskriti Sanstha,a religious outfit,had filed a complaint of defamation against Dr Dabholkar with regard to an article penned by him in 2005 on the subject of superstition.
Dabholkar’s plea for discharge from the criminal case was dismissed by the Magistrate,so he had moved the High Court.
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