Mumbai: In yet another stumbling block in the Govind Pansare murder case, the Kolhapur sessions court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to Hindutva activist Virendra Tawde, who is suspected to have played a key role in the murder of the Communist leader.
Tawde, a Hindu Janajagruti Samiti leader, was also named as the “key conspirator” in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. He was arrested in June 2016 for the August 20, 2013 murder of Dabholkar.
Govind Pansare was shot by two unidentified gunmen in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015. He died four days later. His wife Uma, who was also shot, survived the attack but is now paralysed.
A member of the Communist Party of India, Pansare was a supporter of Dabholkar’s movement against black magic. He spoke out against the glorification of Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin.
In September 2015, the murder was linked to the Sanatan Sanstha, of which Tawde’s party is an offshoot, when the police arrested one of its members, Sameer Gaikwad, in connection with the case.
Pansare’s daughter-in-law, Megha Pansare, expressed her disappointment over the probe by investigating agencies in the murder and the government’s lack of seriousness to nab the killers.
“Tawde, a radical Hindutva activist, is the key person that orchestrated the killing. He is the prime accused in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, and his bail plea was rejected by Pune sessions court in that case. The Kolhapur sessions court that granted bail to Tawde should have considered this,” she told The Wire.
“The police have not being able to arrest Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, who executed the murder and has announced them as absconding. And the court is granting bail to those who are arrested like Tawde and Samir Gaikwad, who is another accused in the case and has been on bail since June 2017. We can see in which direction the case is going. This is the failure of the chief minister who is also the home minister. He needs to ask investigating agencies why they were unable to arrest all the accused.”
Pointing toward a tardy probe by investigating agencies, she said, “We had just made a simple demand to the chief minister to appoint a dedicated SIT team to probe the murder. Due to the lack of a dedicated team and regular transfers of officials in the team, the probe gets delayed. New officers take time to understand the case. The government needs to be more serious.”
She also said that the state should go to the high court to appeal against the bail granted to Tawde. “Otherwise, we will decide the next course of action after consulting with an advocate.”