1 Aug 2022 11:36 AM GMT
The Maharashtra Government informed the Bombay High Court that it has no-objection in transferring the murder investigation of slain communist leader Govind Pansare to the Maharashtra ATS from the state SIT. Special Public Prosecutor Ashok Mundargi said that if the victims and relatives are not satisfied with the investigation the State has no problem in transferring...
The Maharashtra Government informed the Bombay High Court that it has no-objection in transferring the murder investigation of slain communist leader Govind Pansare to the Maharashtra ATS from the state SIT.
Special Public Prosecutor Ashok Mundargi said that if the victims and relatives are not satisfied with the investigation the State has no problem in transferring the investigation.
While the Bombay High Court is likely to take a final call on transfer of investigation on Wednesday, it asked the SPP to take instructions if a few officers from the ATS could be a part of the SIT's investigation team.
A division bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Sharmila Deshmukh was hearing Pansare's kin's plea for transfer as nearly seven years after the 82-year-old was gunned down on his morning walk, the SIT failed to make any clinching breakthrough in the case.
Therefore they have sought transfer of the investigation. The connection between the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Professor Kalburgi, Pansare and Gauri Lankesh were made by the Maharashtra ATS while investigating the 2019 Nalla Sopara Arms Case of 2019, advocate Abhay Nevagi for the petitioners said.
According to the application, alleged shooters Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar are still absconding in the case. With several of the co-accused filing for discharge "if immediate steps are not taken, the investigation to bring absconding accused may not happen," the plea states.
"To identify the masterminds as well the as well as shooters of Comrade Govind Pansare, Criminal Case may be transferred from the respondent SIT to Maharashtra ATS with immediate effect," the plea read.
It adds that five different charge sheets have been filed by different investigating agencies "however, no efforts are made by any of the Investigating Agencies to reach out to the masterminds behind all the 5 cases."
At present, the respective State Governments have in fact provided protection to the people named in the hitlist. Even today, 40 intellectuals along with the petitioner are provided with the security, the plea states. "The combined reading of all 5 Chargesheets and specific reading of Chargesheet in the case of Nalasopara Bomb Blast case, it becomes clear that there exists a deeper and larger conspiracy and masterminds behind all the 5 cases are not traced."
During the hearing today, Justice Dere asked the petitioners what is to be achieved by a new investigation team.
Advocate Abhay Nevagi reiterated the contents of the petition, "In 2019 ATS found that same accused was involved in all four murders, and was only a frontline person, not the mastermind."
"There is some common thread running in all these cases. The shooters identified haven't been found. All investigation agencies are after them but still not found," he said.
SPP Mundargi then said, "We have no issue in sending the matter to ATS if the court feels it's desirable. But the fresh agency will need some time to understand the case."
Justice Dere then asked the SPP to take instructions if some of the investigators could remain the same.
"We will keep it day after tomorrow. We'll go through the report and see."
Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 276