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Govind Pansare case: Bombay HC extends stay on framing of charges against accused

The Bombay High Court on Friday extended the stay on framing of charges against Sameer Gaikwad, a right-wing Hindu activist, who has been arrested in connection with the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare as the prosecution is awaiting a forensic report from the UK. The report has been sought to find out if there was any link between the killings of Pansare, and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi.

Govind Pansare case-AV

On June 9, the high court had directed a sessions court in Kolhapur which is at present conducting the trial against Gaikwad, to defer framing of charges. The direction was given on a petition filed by the Maharashtra government’s CID, which is probing the Pansare murder case, challenging a May 20 order passed by the Kolhapur sessions court rejecting the prosecution’s application seeking to defer framing of charges against Gaikwad, pending the forensic report.

Public Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde told HC that CBI has sent empty cartridges recovered from the crime scene in all the three murders to a forensic lab of Scotland Yard police in the UK. “CBI is in touch with authorities concerned and has assured that all necessary steps will be taken to procure the report expeditiously,” Shinde said.

Justice Sadhana Jadhav then adjourned the petition for further hearing on July 8. “The stay granted shall continue till further orders,” the court said.

Gaikwad, an alleged member of Sanatan Sanstha, is the only suspect arrested by Kolhapur Police in connection with this case. He was arrested on September 16, last year from his residence in Sangli.

Pansare and his wife were shot by unidentified persons in Kolhapur during their morning walk on February 16, last year. While his wife survived, the veteran CPI leader died in a Mumbai hospital four days later. Yesterday, the HC had sought to know from the Maharashtra government if it has decided to seek a CBI probe in the Pansare case as claimed by the lawyer of the family of the slain activist, even as the prosecutor said he has no such instruction so far.

It also came down heavily on CID and CBI, probing the Pansare and Dabholkar murder cases respectively, for slow progress.

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