Dabholkar-Pansare killings: Family cries shoddy probe, wants investigating officer changed

Mumbai: Expressing their displeasure over the investigations carried on till date in the murder case of Comrade Govind Pansare, his family moved an application before the Bombay High Court on Friday, urging it to change the investigating officer in the case.

The family of the slain rationalist filed this plea before a bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla. The bench is presently monitoring the probe in the killings of Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

Having perused the plea, the bench cautioned the family that such an application would only scuttle the probe.

"We think that the family members should realise the negative impact this application will have over the entire case itself. We believe that this plea will only scuttle the investigation. Nothing should rebound on the applicant," remarked Justice Dharmadhikari.

In its plea, the family has highlighted how Pansare was shot down on February 16, 2015, near his house in Kolhapur and died four days after, owing to the serious injuries he sustained in the attack. It further points out that a special investigation team (SIT) of the Maharashtra police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was given the task to probe the case. However, despite four years, little has been done.

The family has said it was not satisfied with the manner in which the investigating officer was handling the probe.

Even as the bench cautioned the family, it, however, asked senior counsel Ashok Mundargi, who appears for the SIT, to file a detailed reply by December 19.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the murder case of Dabholkar, urged the bench to grant additional time to complete its search operations in the Thane creek. The agency has sought help from a renowned diving agency from the Gulf to search and recover four country-made pistols, which, the agency claims, have been disposed of in the creek by accused Sharad Kalaskar, who is accused of shooting the activists.

"We will require additional 45 days to complete the search operations," submitted additional solicitor general Anil Singh.

The bench has accordingly granted it the time sought.