Friday, 20 January 2017

Activists' murders: CBI won't take Scotland Yard's opinion, Bombay HC told

Bombay high court on Friday frowned upon Central Bureau of Investigation after it informed that it will not pursue ballistic opinion from Scotland Yard to establish links in the killings of activists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and Kannada writer MM Kalburgi

"We are very unhappy", remarked a bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice B P Colabawalla. CBI's progress report, submitted by additional solicitor general Anil Singh, informed that there was delay in getting permission from the UK home ministry and an opinion was taken from the Ahmedabad forensic laboratory. 

Singh said there were "difficulties" which are referred to in the report. To a query from the bench if the difficulties could not be overcome at all, Singh replied, "We have dropped the idea (to obtain opinion from Scotland Yard). 

We wrote to various authorities. The lab in UK gave its consent."
Dabholkar was shot on August 20, 2013 in Pune while Pansare was shot at on February 16 in Kolhapur and died on February 20, 2015. Kalburgi was killed on August 30, 2015. 

The court is hearing pleas by the families of Dabholkar and activist Govind Pansare for HC to supervise the probe by CBI in Dabholkar case and SIT of the state police in Pansare case. After forensic labs in Mumbai and Bangalore gave conflicting reports, CBI said it will seek Scotland Yard's opinion on the bullets and cartridges recovered from the crime scene to establish a link in the three killings.

The judges said they were "surprised at the stand of the CBI", and expressed displeasure at the "conduct of the CBI team and particularly those who were present in court and giving instructions.

" They said assurances were given and repeated adjournments taken on several occasions on the ground that they are awaiting the Scotland Yard's opinion.

 The bench said if CBI was aware of the practical difficulties in obtaining the opinion but "went on informing this court to the contrary." It added that "considerable time, effort and energy is wasted by the team of CBI including that of the court."

Considering these circumstances, it turned down a request by the joint director Neena Singh, who is also monitoring the Sheena Bora case, not to file progress reports but let a junior office do the same. The bench said she "will continue to file the report after collecting requisite data from the officers."

Special public prosecutor Ashok Mundargi, representing SIT, said two prime accused are identified and named in the chargesheet. "Efforts are on to trace them. 

The moment we get success there will be substantial progress made," he added. The bench said it expects "better coordination between" CBI and SIT and sought further progress reports after eight weeks.

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