Dabholkar, who spearheaded anti-superstition movement, was shot dead on August 20 by unidentified assailants in Pune.
NIA counsel F R Shaikh informed a bench headed by Justice P V Hardas that 220 policemen were engaged in investigating the murder of Dabholkar and statements of 600 witnesses had already been recorded in this case. The court was hearing a PIL filed by ex-scribe Ketan Tirodkar seeking investigation by a Central Agency into Dabholkar's murder.
An affidavit, filed by Suhas Warke, Superintendent, NIA, said prima facie it was a case of murder which fell under IPC and was being probed by police. Under the NIA Act, the agency can probe only scheduled offences such as those falling under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
"The NIA Act, 2008, constituted an investigating agency at national level to investigate and prosecute offences affecting sovereignty, security and integrity of India and its states," reads the affidavit.
NIA: Dabholkar's murder an offence that falls under the IPC
The PIL alleged that the murder was the handiwork of Hindu right wing activists and that the government has been very slow in prosecuting them. NIA contended that the PIL was based on a presumption on the role of Hindu activists in the murder, and is not based on law and facts, and hence would not bring the offence under the purview of scheduled offences specified under the NIA Act such as UAPA.
The PIL, on the other hand, argued that the offence of Dabholkar's murder was covered under Section 15 of UAPA and hence NIA be directed to probe this case.