The Bombay High Court Friday asked the CBI if there were any attempts on the latter's part to "dilute" or "slow down" its probe into the killing of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.
A bench of Justices S C Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre posed the above question after going through the progress report that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted before the court in a sealed cover.
The bench noted that in the previous reports submitted by the CBI, the agency had named some persons belonging to a right wing organisation and added that action would be taken against them.
However, in the report submitted Friday, the CBI told the court that it required more "prosecutable evidence" against such persons as its previous findings against them were based merely on the statements made by the other accused.
"This leads us to ask the CBI if there is any deliberate attempt to dilute, slow down or tone down its probe against some persons," the bench said.
"Ensure that there is no dilution. Whoever the person is, he is not mightier than the law," the court said.
However, the CBI, through Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, submitted that it wasn't trying to dilute its probe in any manner.
"This is not the impression that we (CBI) wanted to give to the court. Appropriate action will be taken against all accused. We are only trying to gather adequate evidence to avoid any possible setbacks to the prosecution," Singh told the court.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by the kin of Dabholkar, and slain leftist leader Govind Pansare, seeking the probes into both killings be monitored by the court.
It, however, told the CBI, which is investigating the Dabholkar case, and the Maharashtra state CID's Special Investigation Team, which is probing Pansare's killing, to avoid further delays in the probe.
The court also directed both the agencies to abide by all statutory time limits on filing of charge sheets in the cases to ensure that the accused were not granted any benefits owing to procedural lapses by the prosecution.
Abhay Nevagi, the lawyer for the petitioners, had told the bench earlier during the day's hearing that three persons accused in the Dabholkar case- Amol Kale, Rajesh Bangar, and Amit Degwekar- had been granted bail by a Pune court in the morning since the CBI was yet to file its charge sheet against them.
At this, the bench directed both the probe agencies to avoid any procedural delays in the future, and to complete their respective investigations in a time-bound manner.
The HC has directed both the CBI and the SIT to submit their further progress reports by January 17 next year.
Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013 when he was on his morning walk. Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries four days later.
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