Dabholkar murder: High Court issues notices to NIA, Maharashtra Govt
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday issued notices to National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Maharashtra Government, asking them to file their reply to a PIL seeking probe by a Central agency in the murder of anti- superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar last month.
A Bench headed by Justice P V Hardas directed the State and NIA to make their stand clear after two weeks when the PIL has been posted for further hearing.
The PIL, filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar, argued that the offence of Dabholkar's murder was covered under Section 15 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and hence NIA be directed to probe this case.
The Court had on last occasion said it would examine whether the stringent UAPA can be invoked with regard to the murder of Dabholkar. Only then, the Court will decide whether the probe should be transferred to NIA, which was formed in 2008 to investigate terror-related crimes.
The well-known rationalist was shot dead in Pune on August 20 by unidentified gunmen. Pune Police have not yet cracked the case. Tirodkar argued that the high-profile case attracts provisions of UAPA, and hence the probe should be transferred to NIA which often deals with matters under the Act, which gives special powers to security agencies.
Accusing the Pune Police of carrying out a "flawed" probe, the PIL said Dabholkar was receiving threats for quite some time and State Government was aware of this.
Pune Police could have prepared a threat perception report on their own. The Government need not wait for the person's approval for providing him/her with adequate security, it added. The PIL claimed Pune Police had come across some information about possible involvement of astrology practitioners, against whom Dabholkar was about to start an agitation.
It is suspected these people were in touch with right- wing extremists who often blamed the physician-turned-social activist for hurting religious sentiments of a particular community, the petition maintained.