Murder of Govind Pansare: responsibility of investigative agencies to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice, not emboldened, says Bombay HC

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Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015, near his home in Kolhapur. He died four days later.

Bombay Supreme Court, Indian ExpressThe court said the ATS would be assisted by a few officers from the state CID, the agency that had investigated the case to date, to ensure continuity and that the team be put together as soon as possible. (File photo)

Transferring the investigation into the death of activist and CPI leader Govind Pansare from the Special Investigations Team (SIT) of the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to the Counter Terrorism Squad (ATS), the Bombay High Court recently said that while there was a legitimate expectation from his family and the public that the perpetrators of the ‘horrendous’ crime would be caught, so were the investigative mechanisms that exist to preserve the law. and order.

While the court passed the order last Wednesday, the detailed copy of the order was made available later. A divisional bench consisting of Judge Revati Mohite-Dere and Judge Sharmila Deshmukh observed: “The wait for Comrade Pansare’s family has been long, for almost seven years… This court has been monitoring the investigation since 2016. The SIT regularly submits reports with regarding the measures taken to catch the shooters. However, to this day they run away.

He went on to note, “In the present case both SIT and ATS are part of the Maharashtra Police. The transfer of the investigation, even according to the lawyer for the petitioners (Pansare’s relatives) and the lawyer for the state government, will not hinder the ongoing trial. We are of the view that the transfer is necessary for the ATS to allow it to review the investigation from its perspective, as sufficient and more than sufficient time has been granted to the SIT by this tribunal. The investigation must be carried to its logical end, otherwise the perpetrators of the crime would be emboldened.

Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015, near his home in Kolhapur. He died four days later.

On August 1, the Maharashtra government, through Senior Advocate Ashok Mundargi, a state special advocate, had told the High Court that it had no objection to transferring the SIT investigation. at the ATS. However, the bench had asked the state government to respond on whether certain ATS officers could be brought into SIT instead of starting the murder investigation from “ground zero”.

Allowing a plea filed by Pansare’s daughter, Smita, and daughter-in-law, Megha, asking for the investigation to be transferred from SIT, the court said the ATS would be assisted by a few state CID officers, l agency that had investigated the case to date. , for continuity and for the team to be formed as soon as possible. He also asked SIT and CBI to provide necessary cooperation to Maharashtra ATS in its investigation.

Lawyer Abhay Nevagi for relatives of Pansare argued that there was a larger conspiracy in the killings of Pansare and other activists including Dr Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh as all the cases are ‘related’ and said ATS, which probed Nalasopara’s weapons in 2018 haul case, is a suitable agency that can take the Pansare case to its logical end.

The bench posted a new hearing to Aug. 20 to record compliance with the ATS team constitution, including some SIT officers.

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First published on: 08-08-2022 at 19:56:03

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