Alleging that witnesses were turning hostile in the 2006 murder of Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar, the victim’s wife has moved the Bombay High Court seeking transfer of the trial from Maharashtra’s Raigad district to Mumbai, a lawyer said here Sunday.
Nimbalkar’s family members alleged that suspended Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Padmasinha Bajirao Patil, an accused in the case, was using his influence to exert pressure on witnesses.
“The application has been filed by Nimbalkar’s wife Anandibai, where she has requested the Bombay High Court to transfer the trial of the case from a trial court in Alibaug to the high court,” said Vipin Kasle, Nimbalkar’s lawyer.
Latur businessman Satish Mandade and Thane municipal corporator Mohan Shukla are also suspects in the case.
After the killing July 3, 2006 in Navi Mumbai, a case was registered by police but the probe was later taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Quoting an affidavit filed by the CBI, Kasle said that six prosecution witnesses turned hostile while deposing before the trial court.
“The witnesses have gone back on their earlier statements given to the CBI because of the pressure tactics adopted by the respondent (Patil), who is a sitting MP from Osmanabad constituency and is highly influential,” said an affidavit filed by the probe agency.
According to the CBI, Patil hired contract killers for a sum of Rs.30 lakh to get Nimbalkar killed. The Congress leader and his driver Samad Kazi were shot dead at Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai.
In a 5,000-page chargesheet filed Aug 20, 2009, the CBI said that Patil hatched the conspiracy to kill Nimbalkar whom he viewed as a political rival.
Patil was arrested by the CBI from his Mumbai home June 7, 2009. He got bail later.
Till date, the CBI has nabbed eight people, including Patil.