HC asks NIA for its stance

The Bombay high court on Tuesday issued a notice to the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and the state, asking for their stand on whether the murder case of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar is governed by the NIA Bill and could the investigation be carried out under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The court was acting upon a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, who had sought investigation by the agency and alleged the role of Hindu right wing activists in Dr Dabholkar’s murder.
A division bench of Justices P.V. Hardas and P.N. Deshmukh directed both the state and the NIA to make their stand clear after three weeks when the PIL has been posted for further hearing.
The PIL argued that the offence of Dr Dabholkar’s murder was covered under Section 15 of the UAPA and therefore the NIA be directed to probe this case.
The court had, on the last occasion, stated that it would examine whether the stringent UAPA can be invoked with regard to this case. Only then would the court decide whether the probe should be transferred to the NIA, which was formed in 2008 to investigate terror-related crimes.
“My PIL clearly states that the Pune police has stumbled upon possible involvement of a group of astrology professionals against whom late Dr Dabholkar was to start an agitation. It is suspected that these astrology professionals were in touch with some Hindu right-wing extremists who were of the view that Dr Dabholkar was hurting Hindu religious sentiments by virtue of his endeavours,” Mr Tirodkar said He argued that the case attracts the provisions of the UAPA, and hence the probe should be transferred to the agency. The PIL states that Dr Dabholkar was receiving threats for quite some time and the state was aware of this. It also says that the Pune police carried out a “flawed” probe.

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