Maha orders SIT probe into scribe’s ‘killing’, Congress demands judicial probe

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Mumbai: Under flak from various quarters for the “killing” of a Ratnagiri journalist Shashikant Warishe, the Maharashtra government will on Saturday set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio, ordered the police to form the SIT and investigate Warishe’s killing even as the Opposition Congress demanded a judicial probe panel.

Fadnavis has directed the police department to set up the SIT headed by a senior officer and conduct the investigations into the case which has grabbed national attention.

On the other hand, Congress Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe has sought an inquiry commission headed by a sitting or retired Bombay High Court judge to carry out the case probe, plus the report must be handed over to the court and not the state government.

“It must be noted that Fadnavis had in the past declared that the Barsu refinery complex (originally due to come up at Nanar) will come up no matter what and nothing can stop it…” Londhe pointed out, demanding the judicial probe to ascertain Warishe’s killing and a possible conspiracy behind it.

On Monday, Warishe, 46, was knocked down and dragged on his bike by a SUV allegedly driven by a local realty agent, Pandharinath Amberkar, 42.

While the scribe succumbed to his serious injuries on Tuesday, following a massive hue and cry, Ambedkar was arrested and charged with murder, as the incident reverberated nationally.

Major media organisations, rights and social groups, NGOs, and almost all major political parties like Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (UBT), CPI, and others have rallied together to condemn Warishe’ killing, and unravel the plot behind it.

Warishe had run a series of articles opposing the Barsu refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex – billed as the world’s biggest – coming up at a cost of Rs 3.50 lakh-crore, with foreign collaboration in Ratnagiri.

Earlier, following protests by locals, the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government had scrapped the Nanar location and the next regime has finalised Barsu as its new location, which is also facing huge opposition.

Warishe had been running a campaign against the upcoming refinery and petrochemicals complex coming up in the region, while Amberkar was a supporter of the mega-project.

Journalists and other organisations took out silent protest marches in Mumbai on Friday and in Rajapur on Saturday demanding justice for Warishe’s family and ensuring stringent punishment to the prime accused Amberkar.

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( With inputs from )

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