Lashing out at the investigating agencies probing the murders of CPI member Govind Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, the Bombay High Court observed that in the future a scenario would appear where only a few individuals are allowed to talk and move freely controlling everybody else's thoughts and ideas.
Dabholkar, a Pune-based anti-superstition activist, was shot dead while he was on a morning walk in August 2013, while Govind Pansare, a CPI leader, was shot dead in February 2015.
A division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice BP Colabawalla perused the status reports submitted by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing on behalf of the CBI, and APP Mankhuwar Deshmukh, appearing on behalf of the State. Thereafter, the bench questioned the CBI: "We find that if with the assistance of the police party in the neighbouring State, the alleged shooters can be nabbed and arrested, then, why those assisting and helping them and particularly, in destroying the arms and weapons used in the crime, cannot be apprehended and when sufficient clues are available. These are not only clues, but there are materials pointing towards involvement of others. If there is enough material, according to the investigating machinery, then we do not know what more is required. If the search is only for corroborative material, then, that must end some day."
The court went on to note in the order: "Today, the public perception is that crimes as ghastly and heinous as these and committed by groups or individuals opposed to the ideology of the individual involved/victim/deceased can remain un-investigated even after nearly about six years have elapsed. There is no assurance therefore, to those who apprehend that they could be the next victims of the concerned institution or individuals, opposed to their thought process and ideology. Hereafter, we will see a scenario of only few individuals being allowed to talk and move freely and they would be controlling everybody else's thoughts and ideas. That will put the right of free speech and expression constitutionally guaranteed in total jeopardy. One cannot silence a contrary opinion in this manner. By the process of elimination, you cannot get over opposition and this is precisely what is going on in the progressive states. That is the worrying factor and practically none is concerned about it.
We also do not rule out the possibility of an impression being gained by the family members of the deceased, common public as also the organisations and institutions of which the deceased were part of, that on account of undue or uncalled for interference, either by the administrative or political bosses, that the accused are systematically shielded and none is allowed to freely apprehend them."
Whereas, the Special Investigating Team of Maharashtra Police, which is probing the murder of comrade Govind Pansare, submitted a status report through their advocate M Deshmukh. The bench immediately rebuked the report and called it an eyewash.
"The same old story is repeated in this report and we are sorry to say, it is nothing but an eyewash. By the methodology adopted, the absconding accused are not going to be arrested and for years together," the court said.
Moreover, the court went on to say that the current investigating officer in the case is not "efficient enough" to conduct the investigation and summoned the Additional Chief Secretary on the next date of hearing.
"We do not think that Mr. Tirupati Kakade, the investigating officer, who is a senior police official, functioning in District Kolhapur is efficient enough to conduct the investigation for he feels inhibited and is reluctant to give reasons to this Court. He does not appear to be guided properly. Let the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Government of Maharashtra remain present in this Court and inform us on the next occasion as to why the attitude of this investigating officer is so lacklustre and that why the slow pace of investigation is not worrying the State of Maharashtra." The matter will now come up for hearing this March 28.
Reas the Order Here