CBI retains officer to handle Dabholkar case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has re-employed a superintendent of police who is handling the trial in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case as well as investigations into the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar for six months beyond the completion of his tenure, people familiar with the development said.

Nandkumar Nair, who currently heads the agency’s special crime branches in Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram, has been re-hired on a contract basis until May 31, 2021, according to an order issued by the agency’s New Delhi headquarters. He was set to retire on Monday.

The people cited above said o condition of anonymity that CBI director Rishi Kumar Shukla wants Nair to take the probe into the murder of Dabholkar in 2013 to its conclusion, due to which he is being retained in the agency beyond his tenture. Dabholkar’s murder has suspected links with the murders of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in September 2017, and social activist M M Kalburgi and Communist leader Govind Pansare in 2015. The murders of Kalburgi and Lankesh are being probed by a special investigation team in Karnataka while Maharashtra police is investigating Pansare’s murder. CBI is coordinating with both.

Subsequently, the trial in Ishrat Jahan encounter case is at crucial stage and CBI wants Nair to continue, said an official. In October, a special CBI court in Ahmedabad had rejected the discharge pleas of four officers – JG Parmar, Tarun Barot, GL Singhal and Anaju Chaudhary — who were named in the encounter case by the agency. Jahan, Pranesh Pillai and two others were killed on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004 by officers of Detection of Crime Branch.

In Kerala too, Nair is handling sensitive probes including the murder of two Youth Congress leaders – Kripesh, 19, and Sarath Lal, 24, in Periya (Kasargod) on February 17, 2019, in which leaders of the state’s ruling party, Communist Party of India- Marxist, are accused. The state government had in September this year moved the Supreme Court challenging the CBI probe.

Nair could not contacted for his comment. CBI didn’t respond to a query by HT.

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