Dissatisfied with the reports filed by the state’s Special Investigating Agency (SIT) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the murder cases of rationalists Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, respectively, the Bombay High Court on Thursday directed Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Joint director of CBI to be present before it on July 12.
Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013, in Pune while Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20. After the probe reports were submitted to the court in a sealed envelope, a division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati H Dangre said: “We are not satisfied with this report.”
Justice Dharmadhikari asked if the CBI and SIT were firm on their statement that they are coordinating with the Karnataka Police that is investigating the murder case of journalist Gauri Lankesh. The court added that the CBI and SIT were claiming that they were keeping a watch on certain ‘sansthas’, then how did the Karnataka authorities manage to make an arrest from Maharashtra? The court said: “We are surprised some of those accused of murdering the person (Lankesh) have been arrested from the state of Maharashtra.”
“Is there a lack of coordination, or are the authorities before us restricting their probe to merely pursuing mobile phone records,” the court asked the agencies. The bench said the agencies need to adopt the same degree of seriousness and promptness as shown by the Karnataka police. “We are not satisfied with the reports and also not satisfied with the investigating agency,” the court said. Stating that the agencies have put up their hands, the court added that the investigation of Dabholkar and Pansare murders “haven’t been carried out sincerely”. On the request of Abhay Nevagi, advocate appearing for the families of Pansare and Dabholkar, the court directed the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Joint director of CBI to be present before it on July 12. The court also said that “we don’t take any pleasure” in summoning these senior officers. “But the concerns that this court has raised in the previous hearings haven’t been assuaged,” it said.
On Thursday, an affidavit was filed by Dabholkar’s daughter, Mukta Dabholkar, which stated: “I would like to state two weapons were used to kill comrade Govind Pansare. Out of the two weapons one weapon was used in the murder of my father (late Dr Narendra Dabholkar). During the course of hearing before this court, Karnataka Police concluded that one of the weapon used in the murder of comrade Govind Pansare was also used in the murder of late professor M M Kalburgi.”
The affidavit also said: “Now, Karnataka Police have further concluded that the same weapon was used in murder of Gauri Lankesh.” Mukta in the affidavit also said that the CBI and SIT “are not aware about the ballistic report of Karnataka Police”. She added that “there is no coordination between SIT and CBI”, and both the agencies “never inquired” with Karnataka police about the outcome of Lankesh murder case.