There may have been more than two killers involved in the murder of veteran Communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare, according to the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case.The information came to light on Thursday during a hearing on the bail application of the prime accused, Sanatan Sanstha activist Sameer Gaikwad, at the Kolhapur district and sessions court. “The charge sheet filed by the SIT quotes an eyewitness as saying two motorcycles were used in the murder, indicating were more than two people may have been involved,” Special Public Prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar told The Hindu.Arguing against granting bail to Gaikwad, Mr. Nimbalkar said that there was direct evidence of an eyewitness and corroborative circumstantial evidence to link the Sanatan activist to the murder. “Besides, the extra-judicial confessions given by Sameer Gaikwad of his direct involvement in the murder are enough for the court to deny him bail.” Mr. Nimbalkar said there was also the possibility that Gaikwad would flee if granted bail.Bail rejected thriceHis bail pleas had already been rejected thrice in the past. Further hearing on his bail plea will continue on June 17.The veteran Communist leader and his wife Uma were shot outside their home in Kolhapur’s Sagar Mal locality on February 16, 2015. Pansare succumbed to his wounds four days later. Mr. Patwardhan told the court that the SIT’s first charge sheet held Sameer Gaikwad responsible, while the supplementary charge sheet filed after the arrest of Virendra Tawade named the fringe right wing activist as the mastermind.‘Failed to give evidence’Mr. Patwardhan argued that the probe agencies had failed to provide evidence of Gaikwad’s involvement in the murder.Tawade was first arrested for his alleged complicity in the 2013 murder in Pune of noted rationalist-thinker Narendra Dabholkar and was later grilled by the Kolhapur police for his involvement in Pansare’s murder.Gaikwad’s arrest, after he was picked up from Sangli in September 2015, was the first in the Pansare case.
Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader H.S. Phoolka on Saturday said that he would resign as MLA from the Punjab Assembly if cases are not registered against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini for their alleged role in the two incidents of police firing at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura that had led to deaths and injuries in the wake of desecrations.“Cabinet Ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Manpreet Singh Badal, Charanjit Singh Channi and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa should put pressure on the Congress-led government to get Parkash Singh Badal and Sumedh Singh Saini booked and then let the Special Investigation Team probe the entire matter. If they cannot do it then they should resign from their posts,” said Mr. Phoolka, adding that he would be the first to quit, if by September 15 Mr. Badal and Mr. Saini are not made accused in the police firing cases.The Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh Commission, probing the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan police firing incident of 2015, which followed the Bargari sacrilege incident, in its report had said that Mr. Badal was “quite aware” of the situation.
Six persons, including two policemen, were injured in a gunfight between a gang of cattle smugglers-cum-illegal slaughterers and a police team, said a police officer on Saturday. The shoot-out took place when a police team, on a tip-off, raided a secluded mango orchard near Kalyanman Chowki under Beniyaganj Kotwali police station area on Friday, said Assistant Superintendent of Police Gyananjay Singh. As the police team challenged the people engaged in slaughtering there, they opened fire, forcing the police to retaliate, the ASP said. Two alleged cattle smugglers, Mujib and Habib, were injured, while a constable, Satyaprakash, too suffered a gunshot injury, said the ASP.The police also arrested a third gang member, Wali Mohammad, and seized over 15 quintal beef, besides some implements, he added. Three others managed to escape and later went into hiding in the jungles of Hathauda under Kachauna police station. The police team, which reached there, and in another gunfight a second constable Omkar Yadav and two smugglers were injured, the ASP said.