Mumbai/Javkheda: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday met family members of three dalits who were murdered in Javkheda village last month, drawing flak from opposition Congress which described the visit as a "photo op" and the fallout of "political compulsion".
Downplaying the assurance of a "speedy probe" given by Fadnavis during his visit to the village in Ahmednagar district, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said in Mumbai that had the BJP government been genuinely concerned about unravelling the case, it should have handed over the probe to CBI earlier.
"The CM went to meet family members of the innocent Dalits though the trip was not on his schedule for the day. Why this impromptu visit? The chief minister was scared that people would have protested against him had he announced his plans beforehand," Sawant told reporters.
Fadnavis' visit came amid protests by various political parties that have condemned the macabre killings and demanded a CBI probe.
Apparently aware of the sensitivity of the case and the criticism he is facing for not visiting the family members so far, Fadnavis said in Javkheda, "I have been regularly taking briefings from the state DGP and the Intelligence department.
"I have also made my point clear that we cannot give them (police) an indefinite time to conduct the probe. The answers must be revealed in a specific period of time," he said.
Fadnavis also said if police failed to solve the case within a specific period of time, the state government will have to think of transferring the case to CBI.
He, however, did not specify the time-frame he has alloted to the police to solve the triple-murder case.
Attacking Fadnavis for not ordering the CBI probe, Sawant said, "The chief minister, in spite of witnessing the tragedy first hand, did not call for a CBI probe into the issue, even though it has been over a month since the killings took place. Is the CM scared to order a CBI probe?"
Fadnavis decided to meet the kin of the deceased only after receiving a barrage of criticism across the political spectrum, he alleged.
"What took him (Fadnavis) so long to visit the village? It is only after receiving flak from political parties that he decided to pay them a visit. We (Congress) will keep demanding a CBI probe into the issue. We want justice to be served to the innocent family members. Merely giving verbal assurances won't do any good," Sawant said.
Over the course of October 21 and 22, villagers of Javkheda had retrieved dismembered body parts of a mason, Sanjay Jadhav (42), his wife Jayashree (38) and their teenager son Sunil (19) from a well and strewn all around the land owned by Jadhav.
State Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had recently directed the DGP to appoint a Special Task Force (STF) to probe the killings, after meeting a delegation led by RPI(A) President Ramdas Athawale at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.