The Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused a personal hearing to the CBI joint director and head of the Maharashtra Special Investigation Team in the Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar murder cases and directed them to conduct a fair probe.

In the last hearing, a Division Bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre had summoned the Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra and the Joint Director of the CBI to answer for the lack of progress in the investigation of the killings of Dr. Dabholkar and Pansare. On Tuesday, they were present before the Bench and requested the court that they be heard in the judge’s chamber and not in open court. They said they had some sensitive information and could not share it in open court.

However, the Bench refused to oblige them and said if they allowed this, it would set a precedent. The court said that if there is some sensitive information, it can be put in writing and submitted to the chamber. Advocate Abhay Nevagi, appearing for Pansare family members informed the court that the State government had increased the security provided to the family. He said, “This has made the family anxious, and they are wondering if there is any new threat to their safety.”

Earlier, there was one bodyguard for two family members round-the-clock given by the area police station. It has now been increased by the Superintendent of Police’s office to four bodyguards and they do not leave the family members alone. The court said it is pivotal for agencies to conduct fair investigation as liberals and activists fear they will be targeted if they voice their views in public.

The court said, “After the killings, some more similar incidents have taken place in the State of Karnataka.”

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