The CBI and Maharashtra CID told the Bombay High Court on Friday that it had, to some extent, established commonality between the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and activist Govind Pansare.
A division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel was told that in the Dabholkar case all the accused have been arrested but the weapon used in the crime is yet to be recovered.
The CBI informed the court that an operation will be carried out within a month to search and retrieve four country-made pistols, which were allegedly dismantled and thrown by the accused into a creek in adjoining Thane district.
"We are awaiting necessary permissions from government agencies to undertake the operation," CBI counsel Anil Singh told the court.
The bench then noted that the operation should not be delayed and should be carried out before onset of monsoon.
CID counsel Ashok Mundargi told the court that in the Pansare case the main conspirators have been arrested and efforts are on to nab the assailants.
The bench then asked if investigations carried out so far had pointed out to any commonalities between the two crimes.
"Yes, to some extent commonality is established between the two crimes," Mr Mundargi said.
The bench, however, noted that there was something lacking in the probe in the Pansare case.
"We feel like there is some spark missing in this case. It is not the case that the shooters will never be arrested. They will be nabbed one day. But it should have been done by now," the court said.
"It is the credibility of the probe agency that is at stake. It is a case where eminent persons like Dabholkar and Pansare have been killed," it added.
The court said the government has to provide all assistance and guidance to the probe agencies in such cases.
"Political leaders, who are in power, and made promises to the public that they stand for peace and constitutional rights of citizens should ensure this," the court said.
The court was hearing petitions filed by the family of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking court supervision in the probe being carried out by the CID and the CBI.
Dabholkar, a well-known anti-superstition activist, was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune.
Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 near his house in Kolhapur in western Maharashtra. He died four days later.
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