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Scotland helpless in Dabholkar Murder Case, HC unhappy

The Bombay High Court on Thursday said it was “very unhappy” over the pace of progress in Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare murder cases even as the CBI informed the court that Scotland Yard has refused to help in the forensic probe on the ground that there was no pact between the UK and India for sharing such data.

On Thursday, CBI also submitted, in a sealed cover, a report from Ahmedabad Forensic Laboratory on ballistic evidence related to the killing of the three rationalists, including M M Kalburgi in Karnataka, the third such report, the other two being those of Mumbai and Bengaluru labs.

CBI, probing Dabholkar’s murder, and the SIT of state CID, investigating killing of Pansare, also submitted separate reports in sealed covers to the court on the progress made in these two cases.

A bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and B P Colabawalla observed that it was “very unhappy” over the tardy progress in investigation, and also noted there was no development in the proceedings in courts in Pune and Kolhapur, trying Dabholkar and Pansare murder cases respectively.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the bench, hearing petitions filed by the families of the two slain rationalists, that, “Scotland Yard has informed us in writing that no legal agreement existed between the two countries on sharing of forensic data and hence it will not help by conducting a forensic probe into these murder cases.”

The CBI had earlier told the court that forensic evidence was sent to Scotland Yard to seek its opinion if same weapons were used in the murders of Dabholkar and Pansare in Maharashtra and Kalburgi in Karnataka.

The judges perused the reports and cautioned the probe agencies against revealing the contents to anyone, including media, as the investigations are still on.

SIT counsel Ashok Mundargi said, “The probe in Pansare killing is on. We have identified two absconding suspects. The charge sheet has been filed and we are investigating further.”

On a plea made by the two agencies seeking eight weeks time to conduct further probe, the bench deferred the matter till March 20.

While Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He died on February 20 that year. Prof Kalburgi was murdered on August 30, 2015.

Last month also, the High Court had come down heavily on CBI for inordinate delay in the investigation and said it was “bungling up” the probe.

Virendra Tawde, an alleged member of right wing group Sanathan Sanstha was arrested on June 10 last year by CBI in the Dabholkar case. He was also arraigned as accused by CID in the Pansare case.

Another member of the Sanstha, Samir Gaikwad, was arrested by the SIT in connection with the Pansare murder case in September 2015.

The family members of Dabholkar and Pansare also again voiced their unhappiness over the “lack of progress” in probe in the cases.

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