The family of Govind Pansare—the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader who was assassinated in 2015—has filed an application on Saturday to change the investigative officer in the case.
Earlier, on November 4, the court had reportedly said that the change in the investigative officer might negatively affect the investigation process. However, since the investigation seems to be heading towards nowhere, the family has gone ahead and filed the application. The investigation agency is expected to file a reply by December 19, according to sources.
Pansare was attacked by two unidentified gunmen in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015. He died on February 20. He was a vehement critic of Hindutva organisations. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) had implicated Virendra Tawde, Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar—suspects in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case—in the Pansare case as well, in 2016. Tawde was named as a key conspirator in both the cases, and Akolkar and Pawar were suspected of firing at Pansare. However, Tawde was granted bail by the Kolhapur court in 2018; and both Akolkar and Pawar have been absconding since the Margao blast in 2009.
Also Read: New Arrests in Govind Pansare’s Case are Not New After all
Sachin Andure, Ganesh Miskin and Amit Baddi are the three arrested so far in Nalasopara case and Gauri Lankesh case respectively. All three of them are members of Sanatan Sanstha and are accused even in the case of Govind Pansare.
Sharad Kalaskar, a Sanatan Sanstha sympathiser is also now in the custody of the Maharashtra SIT. Kalaskar is said to have destroyed the weapons that were allegedly used to shoot at Pansare and his wife. As NewsClick had reported earlier, Kalaskar has confided in the Karnataka SIT that Sanjeev Punalekar – the lawyer of Sanatan Sanstha (SS) – had called him to his office in June-July 2018. The lawyer is said to have asked Kalaskar to destroy the gun allegedly used to murder Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. Punalekar and his assistant Vikram Bhave were arrested by the CBI on May 25, but are now out on bail.
Also Read: Is the Probe into Pansare’s Murder Just Skimming the Surface?
In the cases of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi, there has been hardly any progress in the investigations. It is time and again reported that the same set of people were involved in all the four murder cases, the chargesheet also noted the same. However, the investigating agencies in all the four cases are not being able to track down the mastermind.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Maharashtra Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is probing Pansare’s Killing.
Also Read: Judicial Custody of Accused in Pansare Murder Case Extended