December 17, 2016 12:30:41 am
The Bombay High Court Friday pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its handling of the Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar murder cases. The court said the CBI’s delay in obtaining a ballistic report from UK’s Scotland Yard could create an impression that the authorities were not pursuing the matter seriously and give scope for the agency’s credibility to be questioned.
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A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Dr B P Colabawalla was hearing petitions by the kin of both Dabholkar and Pansare, expressing unhappiness with the probe being conducted by the CBI in Dabholkar’s case and a special investigation team (SIT) of the state police in Pansare’s. They had sought for the High Court to monitor the probe.
Dabholkar was shot on August 20, 2013 in Pune while Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He died four days later.
While the CBI had earlier claimed it would send cartridges recovered from both the crime scenes to the Scotland Yard to ascertain if there was any link between the murders, on Friday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said if the delay continued, it would seek an opinion from the forensic lab in Delhi, as the forensic labs in Mumbai and Bengaluru had submitted conflicting reports.
“Several letters have been sent pursuing the case with Scotland Yard. Alternatively, we could seek opinion from the forensic lab in Delhi,” Singh said, adding that they had decided to seek the help of the Scotland Yard to avoid any “allegations.”
Irked by this, Justice Dharmadhikari said: “You (CBI) were aware of the difficulties and obstacles when you sought report from UK. What prevented you from seeking opinion from a local third party expert before? The point is efforts taken should be sincere. Especially in cases like this, where the offence is of a serious nature and impacts the society.”
The court noted that the delay caused by the probe agency would not only benefit the accused, but also give a bad impression to the society at large.
“The more you postpone and delay, the more benefit the accused will get. It also gives an impression in the society that you (CBI) are not serious about the case and are not pursuing the probe sincerely. You are just bungling it up. It is your credibility at stake. You should remember that this delay is impacting three trials,” the court said.
The empty cartridges found on the spot of the murder of Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi were also sent to Scotland Yard to check for links in the three cases.
The court, while posting the petitions for hearing after six weeks, said this was the last chance it was giving the CBI to procure a ballistic report from an independent third party.
On the Pansare murder probe being probed by the state SIT, the court called for better coordination between the team and the CBI.
“When the accused are common in both the cases, the agencies should coordinate and take joint efforts to nab them,” it said.
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