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Sandeep Shetty alleges an invisible hand of a minister behind the filing of closure report in his brother and RTI activist Satish Shetty’s murder case. The case handled by CBI since last four years was coming to a near conclusion when all of a sudden the agency filed closure report
In a suspicious and strange turn of events, after four years of investigations the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), suddenly filed a closure report in the Satish Shetty murder case on 11th August. CBI investigations led to a 10,000 page report; several trips abroad by the investigative agencies and almost zeroing on 13 culprits, which were giving an indication about solving the murder case of the Right to Information (RTI) activist. The CBI spokesperson on Monday told the media that the closure has been filed at the Wadgaon-Maval court as it could not find sufficient evidence to prosecute the accused persons.
Just to recall, the 13 accused persons were named by slain RTI activist Satish Shetty in a land grab case along the Pune-Mumbai expressway through forging of documents, in a first information report (FIR) lodged by him at the Talegaon police station in October 2009. The names included the high profile owner of Ideal Road Builders (IRB), Virendra Mhaiskar, who is close to several top notch politicians of Maharashtra, as well as a sub-registrar and others. It has been alleged that the subsequent brutal murder of Shetty on 13 February 2010, was closely linked to his lodging of his FIR of October 2009. In fact, the CBI stuck to this FIR as the motive for Satish Shetty’s murder for a good four years, until as recently as 8 August 2014 and then suddenly changed course in the last three days.
The High Court had suo motu taken cognizance of Satish Shetty murder in 2010 and directed the CBI to probe it, which was otherwise being investigated by the Pune Rural Police. It had again, on 8th August, allowed the CBI to open up the land scam case in which, Shetty had lodged an FIR. In fact, CBI itself had made this requisition to the High Court, stating that it (the land scam) might be linked to the Satish Shetty murder and hence needs to be re-investigated. The High Court on 8th August, directed the agency to go ahead with the re-opening of the case and submit its report within four weeks. However, instead, the CBI submitted a closure report at Wadgaon–Maval court on the basis that there is no evidence against the 13 accused. All this in a matter of just three days, that is between 8th and 11th August 2014!
Moneylife spoke with Sandeep Shetty, brother of Satish Shetty who is doggedly pursuing the case to seek justice. Here are the excerpts from the interview...
Moneylife (ML): How do you react to CBI’s sudden closure of your brother, Satish Shetty’s murder case?
Sandeep Shetty (SS): It is very shocking that the CBI should have made a turnaround in three days flat. Where is justice left? Earlier, we thought the local police might be influenced by some higher-ups, but now the CBI too has bent backwards to please those in political power. It is impossible for the investigative agency to take action on its own, as the High Court has directed on 8th August that it should submit the report to it in four weeks time. Even if you say that suddenly no evidence was found, the CBI cannot file a closure report; it should have submitted such a report to the High Court. This is clear case of contempt of Court and hence the closure report is invalid. In fact, the Wadgaon-Maval court has no powers to accept the report, which needs to be submitted to the District Court that in turn has to call me for hearing before accepting the report. I am going to contest it (the CBI action) and it will indeed be the biggest scandal if the District Court accepts the closure report. I’m also going to Wadgaon-Maval Court today to get the copy of the closure report. I am also going to file a petition to the High Court to re-investigate the case. I would be talking to my lawyer for advice.
ML: You have directly alleged that the closure is a result of political clout. Why do you say so?
SS: That’s because the CBI has been investigating the case since the last four years and on 20 December 2013 it specifically told the High Court that Satish’s murder is directly related to the FIR Satish has lodged against Mhaiskar and others in 2009. Again, a few days back, on 8 August 2014, the CBI told the High Court that prima facie Satish’s FIR is the basic motive for his murder. This gave me hope that the case was on its way to getting solved and the culprits would be booked and punished as per Law. However, what else can one derive when in three days flat the CBI completely changed its stance and said that there is no circumstantial evidence against the accused, who were very much the accused until 8 August 2014.
We all know Nitin Gadkari’s links with the the Ideal Road Builders-IRB group of companies and it’s all in the public domain wherein IRB had loaned large amounts of money to Gadkari’s controversial Purti group of industries. Hence, I strongly feel that Gadkari’s pressure on the CBI resulted in the latter doing a complete u-turn unlawfully. Would you believe that any government agency can do such a startling and brazen turnaround on its own, especially when it was sticking to its ground for a good four years?
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)