The Bombay High Court on Monday allowed Mukta Dabholkar, daughter of the slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, to intervene in a public interest litigation seeking CBI probe into the murder.
Mukta is seeking investigation by a Special Investigating Team, drawn from various probe agencies, claiming the probe was not making headway for the past six months.
Dabholkar, a well-known anti-superstition activist, was shot dead by unknown assailants in Pune on August 20 last year. No arrest has been made in the case so far by police.
The bench headed by Justice P V Hardas allowed the petition on Monday. To the court’s question about the status of the investigation, the government lawyer only said that Pune police were still probing the case.
Former journalist Ketan Tirodkar has filed the PIL seeking a CBI inquiry.
The crime was not against an individual but the ideology of the secular state. A fresh perspective was needed into the probe as it was not making headway for the past six months, Mukta’s application said.
Dabholkar spent his life combating superstition and irrationality. His violent death was a reminder of the depths to which discourses around culture had fallen in the state, the application said.
Mukta’s application said that her family felt that some precaution against political interference in the investigation was necessary due to the nature of the crime and in view of the coming elections.
Tirodkar had earlier sought a probe by the National Investigation Agency, but later he amended the petition and demanded a CBI probe.
Pune police had informed the court that there was no evidence suggesting involvement of right-wing extremists in the killing, contrary to Tirodkar’s contention.
ACP Rajendra Bhamare of Pune police had also denied in his submission that his team was under pressure from any political party or group, and said the case did not fall in the purview of NIA.
NIA took the same stand in the HC, saying that it cannot probe the murder as the crime fell under the Indian Penal Code and was not covered by NIA Act.