The family of slain activist Govind Pansare on Thursday filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking to transfer the inquiry into his murder from the Maharashtra Crime Investigation Department to the state anti-terrorism squad, PTI reported.

Pansare’s daughter-in-law, Megha Pansare, said in the plea that no headway has been made in the case since 2015 and that the investigation status was pathetic.

Pansare, a Communist Party of India leader, was attacked by two unidentified gunmen on his way home from a morning walk in western Maharashtra’s Kolhapur on February 16, 2015. He died of bullet wounds four days later.

In her plea, Megha Pansare contended that a “larger conspiracy” existed behind the killings of Pansare, anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, academician and activist MM Kalburgi in 2015 and journalist Gauri Lankesh in 2017.

Advocate Abhay Nevagi, representing Megha Pansare, told the High Court that the “link and mastermind” behind the killings should be investigated.

He said that since the Central Bureau of Investigation has already started an inquiry into Dabholkar’s killing, it cannot be transferred to another agency. However, the investigation into Pansare’s murder should be transferred to the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad due to lack of progress in the case, Nevagi argued, according to PTI.

The bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and VG Bisht asked the Maharashtra government to file a response to the plea and asked the state Crime Investigation Department to submit a status report on the inquiry.

Pansare’s murder

In June 2019, police had arrested Hindutva activist Sharad Kalaskar in connection with Govind Pansare’s murder. Kalaskar was linked to the murder of Dabholkar and Lankesh as well, the investigating agencies had said.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Kalaskar stayed in Kolhapur for more than a week before Pansare’s murder. Several persons were named in the case, including Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, two activists with links to Hindutva organisation Sanatan Sanstha.