Coming down heavily on CBI, the Bombay High Court on Friday said it was “bungling up” probe in the murder case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar by causing inordinate delay in obtaining forensic reports from the Scotland Yard.
A division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and BP Colabawalla, which was hearing petitions filed by the family of Dabholkar and murdered activist Govind Pansare seeking HC supervision in the probe, was today irked when CBI sought further adjournment in the case as it was still awaiting report from the forensic lab in UK.
“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 two trials which are ready to commence,” the court said.
The agency had earlier claimed before the HC that it had sent bullets and empty shells recovered from Pansare’s body and the crime scene to the Scotland Yard to ascertain if there was any link between the Dabholkar and Pansare murders.
The agency wanted to seek a third opinion as the forensic labs in Mumbai and Bangalore had submitted conflicting reports.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for CBI, told the court that the agency is still awaiting reports from UK and that several letters have been sent pursuing the case.
“Alternately we could seek opinion from the forensic lab in Delhi,” Singh said.
Irked by this, the court said if there was alternative of seeking opinion locally then why did the agency not do it before.
“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,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.
The court noted that the delay caused by the probe agency would not only benefit the accused but would also give a bad impression to the society at large.
On Pansare murder case which is being probed by the state
CID, the court called for better coordination between CBI and CID.
“When the accused are common in both the cases then the agencies should coordinate and take joint efforts to nab the accused,” the court said.
Special public prosecutor Ashok Mundargi, appearing for state CID, told the court today that a supplementary charge sheet has been filed in the case against two accused – Sameer Gaikwad and Virendra Tawde and two absconding accused. Mundargi said all efforts are being taken to nab the absconding accused.
The court while posting the petitions for hearing after six weeks said this was the last chance it was giving to CBI to procure reports from UK and also sought a progress report from CID on its probe against the absconding accused.
While Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He died on February 20.