3 Aug 2022 8:10 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court said it will pass orders transferring investigation into the 2015 murder of communist leader Govind Pansare from the Special investigations Team to the ATS's Anti-Terrorism Squad, seven years after the leader was shot at on his morning walk. A division bench comprising Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Sharmila Deshmukh said they will pass an order to that...
The Bombay High Court said it will pass orders transferring investigation into the 2015 murder of communist leader Govind Pansare from the Special investigations Team to the ATS's Anti-Terrorism Squad, seven years after the leader was shot at on his morning walk.
A division bench comprising Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Sharmila Deshmukh said they will pass an order to that effect while hearing an application filed by Pansare's kin. Seeking transfer, the family alleged that the SIT failed to make any clinching breakthrough in the case.
"We are only deciding the petition for transfer of investigation today," Justice Dere said when some of the accused tried to intervene during the hearing.
The court said it will also direct certain SIT officers to assist the ATS in investigation, to ensure continuity. Pansare's murder was being investigated by the State CID's Special investigation Team earlier. But over the years several officers had retired.
Special Public Prosecutor Ashok Mundargi for the State said they were agreeable to transfer the investigation and also to transfer a few officers to the team. The petitioners also submitted they had no objection to the arrangement.
In their application filed earlier this year, they said that 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.
"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," the application said.
Pansare was 82 at the time of his murder. By 2016, charge sheets were filed against Sameer Gaikwad and prime accused Virendrasinh Tawde. In 2019, four others Amol Kale, Vasudeo Suryavashi, Amit Digwekar and Bharat Kurne were charge sheeted. They've been booked for murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and Arms Act violations.
Six accused have been charge sheeted since 2015 but the SIT has not been able to track the crime's weapons, the getaway bike and the absconding alleged shooters, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar.
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 filed through advocate Abhay Nevagi said.
He had submitted that it was important to identify the masterminds as well as the shooters of Comrade Govind Pansare, adding 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."
Today, advocate for the accused Subhash Jha tried to intervene during the hearing. "How can this petition be heard for 7 years without us being a party. The principle of Audi Alteram Partem is still applicable," he said.
Senior Advocate Mundargi objected saying that the accused had no locus to intervene and can merely seek a speedy trial.
"We are not deciding the petition today, only the application for the transfer of the investigation," Justice Dere said.
(Inputs by Sharmeen Hakim)
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