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Dabholkar Murder Case : The case is dead too?

Thursday, 24 April 2014 - 7:14am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

An inexperienced Special Investigations Team (SIT) and poor coordination among the Pune police officers have lead to nothing concrete in the murder case of anti-superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar. Dabholkar was shot dead by two unidentified men on the Maharashi Shinde bridge at 7.10 am on August 20, 2013. Thereafter, in January this year, the police arrested arms dealer Manish Nagori (24) and his aide Vilas Khandelwal (22) both from Ichalkaranhi in Kolhapur, following a ballistic experts report which said that the bullets were fired from the weapon recovered from the duo. But since the police failed to file a chargsheet within the stipulated deadline, the duo were released on bail.

Pune: The Pune police managed to arrest the main conspirator and nor could it establish any link in the case.
The police claimed to have scrutinised over five crore phone calls which were made from different places from the city on the day of the murder but couldn't get any headway in the case. Besides, over 500 people including eye witnesses, suspected right wing group workers and godmen were interrogated to establish a link in a case.
Despite the eye witnesses and cartridges recovered, the case has reached nowhere.
Retired senior police officers are of the opinion that the Pune police should form a SIT with members of independent agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Criminal Investigations of Department (CID).

CBI investigation will be prudent say Retired cops

After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the Bombay High Court that is considering to probe the murder case of anti-superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar, retired police officers of Maharashtra police claimed that it will be prudent if an independent agency handles the probe as they will investigate the case with a new direction.
The top brass police officers of Pune police on the other hand claimed that they have taken enough efforts to crack the case and cannot term it a ‘failure’. 

Despite witnesses, cartridges recovered from suspects and two arrests, the case has reached nowhere

Speaking to dna, former Pune police commissioner Jayant Umranikar said, “It is difficult to probe such cases as the crime has been executed professionally. As a result, after certain days of investigations, the investigating officers need to probe the case with a new direction. If officers from an independent agency are there in the team, they can probe the case with new directions. Besides, if an independent agency takes over the case, they should be backed by the local police so that they can make headway in the case.”
Former inspector general SM Mushrif claimed that the Pune police have taken enough efforts to crack the case. 
Speaking to dna, Mushrif said, “I have taken review of the investigations in the recent past and the Pune police have probed all possible aspects of the case. The murder is a supari killing and thus it is difficult to establish the link.”

Former top brass officers feel that it will add new direction to the case

On being asked about handing over the probe to an independent agency, Mushrif said, “The independent agency may play crucial role in the case. But we can’t say that they will crack it immediately.”
At the last hearing, Pune police had submitted case diaries and confidential reports to the court. When contacted investigating officer and assistant commissioner of police Rajendra Bhamre, he said, “We have taken enough efforts in the case and submitted all reports to the court.”

Headless SIT far from results, Poor coordination, internal conflict hampering investigations

Over eight months have passed and the murder of anti-superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar still remains a mystery. 
Poor coordination among Pune crime branch officers and an inexperienced Special Investigation Team (SIT) have hampered the investigation of the sensitive case.
Shockingly, the crime branch officers who were investigating the case have been ‘sidelined’ by senior officers and are also not kept in the ‘loop’ about the happenings. 
The meeting of the new SIT and discussions are separately done. On the other hand, the crime branch officers are saying that the investigation of the case has no concrete ‘direction’ and thus there is hard any possibility to crack the case.
The SIT has been formed after the affirmation of director general of police Sanjeev Dayal. While forming the SIT, the senior police officers preferred to chose new officers who do not have any idea about Pune and thus can probe the case with a new view. Moreover, the senior officers are of the opinion that the present crime branch officers have probed all the aspects but failed to get any results. 
A senior police officer who was probing the case from the beginning and did not want to divulge his identity told dna, “We are surprised with the new SIT as it is inexperienced They have also kept experienced crime branch inspectors away from the investigations. They don’t even ask the inspectors to work on the case. Moreover, the meeting of the SIT is conducted separately. As a result, the inspectors are not concerned about the progress. Eventually it is hampering the case. There has to be a proper co-ordination while investigating such high profile murder cases.” 
One of the officers of the SIT who too is unhappy with the new line of direction the case is taking, said, “Whenever we come up with any idea, senior officers discourage it saying that it has already been probed earlier. As a result, we are confused on what to probe in the case. There is no proper coordination among senior officers, crime branch inspectors and SIT members.” 

Family wanted HC to monitor probe

Slain activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s son Hamid said that they have not sought CBI investigation in the case. The family wanted the high court to monitor the probe and the special investigating team should be formed with experienced officers from different agencies like Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).
Hamid said, “We have not sought CBI investigations in the case. We sought SIT in the case and it should probe under the guidance of the court. Moreover, the SIT members should be experienced having worked in agencies like ATS, CBI and CID.” 
Upon being asked about reaction on the present status of the investigation, Hamid said, “We are not happy with the present investigation. There is no positive progress in investigation.” 

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