The Maharashtra government has announced Rs 10 lakh reward for any information leading to the arrest of two missing gunmen Vinay Pawar and Sarang Dilip Akolkar wanted for the killing of veteran Communist leader and social activist Govind Pansare. Earlier, CBI announced Rs5-lakh reward for leads on Narendra Dabholkar’s killers too. Sameer Vishnu Gaikwad and Virendrasingh Tawade have been arrested in connection with these cases. Akolkar and Pawar and Rudra Patil are wanted accused in the case.
While Akolkar and Pawar are shown as assailants in the murder of Pune-based rationalist Narendra Dabholkar by the Central Bureau of Investigation Patil is wanted in the 2009 Goa blast case. The chargesheet in this case states the conspiracy to kill Pansare was hatched a few months before the murder at the outfit’s office in Panvel and at the resident of a sadhak at Kolhapur. Tawde, Gaikwad and the wanted accused attended the meeting. In December 2014, Tawde also travelled to Kolhapur and carried a recce of Pansare’s office before the murder. A black motorbike used in the recce and subsequently by the assassins belonged to Tawde. He also provided the weapons.
A 14-year old eyewitness saw the assailants; the police have also recorded the statement of many Sanatan Sanstha members under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). These members have given details of the conspiracy and the involvement of the arrested and wanted accused. One of the key witnesses who was a sadhak with the outfit has identified the shooters and has mentioned in his statement that Pawar and Tawde visited his Kolhapur home in December 2014 just two months before Pansare’s murder. The said sadhak always provided shelter to the wanted accused when they visited Kolhapur. The state police have revealed ‘ideological difference’ and the “hatred’ that Tawde had towards Pansare as the motive behind the murder. Pansare was very vocal of his criticism of the right-wing outfit. He also wrote and spoke against Sanatan Sanstha at various meetings, gatherings that did go down well with Tawde. At many occasions they even had face-offs with each other.
Police is yet to establish a common link in the murders of Kalburgi and Govind Pansare in Kolhapur and Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in 2013, investigators have found evidence that the same weapon was used in all three crimes. The shooters are and suspects are also same. The style of murder was same. While Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Pansare was shot at on February 16, died on February 20. Prof Kalburgi was murdered on August 30. Motorcycle-borne assailants had pumped four bullets into Dabholkar, 69, from a 7.65-mm country-made pistol, while Pansare, 81, and his wife Uma Pansare were shot at with five bullets from two 7.65-mm country-made weapons. The same modus operandi was used in the Kalburgi case too.
All the three cases were earlier being linked on the basis of the profile of the victims, probable motives, and modus operandi. Now, investigation says a 7.65-mm country-made weapon was used for the killings with the cartridges providing the first physical evidence linking the murders.
Forensic analysis of bullet cartridges recovered at the scene of all three crimes has revealed the same 7.65-mm country-made pistol was used. This revelation, which is made in a CID confidential report to the State government, comes close on the heels of the Centre denying any link between the three killings.
The killings of these activists had sparked outrage in the country with several eminent writers and others returning their state awards over “rising intolerance” in the country. Finally CBI managed to arrest Hindu Janajagruti Samiti member Virendra Singh Tawde in connection with the murder of Dabholkar. The Samiti is linked to Goa-based radical Hindu group ‘Sanatan Sanstha’, which had also come under the scanner for the murder of Pansare. Both the Centre and state governments are responsible for the apathy in investigation. There are red corner notices against the suspects but investigative agencies have been unable to find them. It shows a lack of political will in the matter. When all theories flopped and police and CBI failed on its intelligence they declared handsome award amount on two accused members. The question which arises here is if police is sure about them then why don’t they take lead and raid all those places who can stand in support with these organizations and their members. If they are sure it is done by Sanatan Sanstha members, then why announce reward? Do you think sadhaks can really compromise their counterparts by providing information about them? If three murders were planned, executed and attempted in same fashion, why was police waiting after the first murder followed by second and third? How is this reward amount declaration going to help the intelligence? Then again the question remains, how intelligent is our intelligence?
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