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PIL claims that an organization was involved in the killing of the Mahatma, former Additional Solicitor General Amarendra Sharan appointed amicus curiae

A petition to reopen and reinvestigate the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi has been accepted by the Supreme Court. The apex court has requested senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General Amarendra Sharan to assist the court as amicus curiae in examining all documents filed with the petition and see if something can be done.

The petition, filed by Mumbai-based IT consultant, Pankaj Kumudchandra Phadnis, claims that the assassination was not the work of just one individual (Nathuram Godse), but an organisation was involved in it.

The apex court asked some searching questions on the plea seeking reopening of the probe into the killing of Mahatma Gandhi, the PTI reported.

Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948 by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a right-wing advocate of Hindu nationalism.

When the bench asked what can it do in the case now, Padhnis said he has received some crucial documents relating to the case after filing the plea. He also sought additional time to file those documents.

“Why should we reopen this now? We will give you as much time you want but you tell us why should we reopen a finding that has been affirmed,” the bench asked the petitioner, according to PTI.

Padhnis told the apex court that appeals filed by the convicts in the assassination case were dismissed in 1949 by the East Punjab High Court, following which the Privy Council had sent the matter back on the ground that the Supreme Court of India will come into existence in January 1950.

However, Padhnis said, “The Supreme Court never adjudicated this matter.” He also alleged that that another another person might be involved in firing shots at Mahatma Gandhi. The bench responded, “we want to go by the law and not by political passion”.

“You say that there was someone else, a third person who killed him (Gandhi). Is that person alive today to face the trial,” the bench asked. Padhnis responded that Mahatma may have been killed by an organised body. However, the bench said, “We cannot convict an organisation. Do you know whether that person is alive?”

On June 6, 2016, the Bombay High Court had dismissed Padhnis’ PIL on two grounds. First, the findings of fact was recorded by the competent court and confirmed right up to the apex court. Second, the Kapur Commission has submitted its report and made the observations in 1969. Padhnis has challenged this decision in the Supreme Court.

Padhnis has also questioned the ‘three bullet theory’ relied upon by various courts of law to hold the conviction of accused — Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, who were hanged to death on November 15, 1949, and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who was given the benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence.

Padhnis has further claimed that the the Justice JL Kapur Commission of Inquiry set up in 1966 was not able to unearth the entire conspiracy that had led to the killing of Gandhi.

An SC bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao has appointed senior advocate and former additional solicitor general Amrender Sharan as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, which will be heard next on October 30.

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