The Bombay High Court has observed that there has been no breakthrough in the investigation of activist Govind Pansare’s murder, PTI reported on Monday.
Pansare 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.
On August 3, the High Court directed the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad to take over the inquiry from the Criminal Investigation Department’s Special Investigation Team. The detailed order was made available on Monday.
A bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh said that more than enough time had been given to the Special Investigation Team to inquire into the killing. “It is necessary that the investigation is taken to its logical end, failing which, the perpetrators of the crime would be emboldened,” it said.
Transferring the case was necessary to enable the Anti-Terrorism Squad to “look at the investigation from their angle”, the court said according to The Indian Express. It added that both the Anti-Terrorism Squad and Special Investigation Team are part of the Maharashtra Police, and so, the transfer of investigation would not impede the trial.
“The wait for the family of Comrade Pansare has been long, for almost seven years,” the High Court said. “…This court has been monitoring the investigation since 2016. SIT has been regularly submitting reports with respect to steps taken to nab the shooters. However, till date, they are absconding.”
The activist’s daughter-in-law Megha Pansare on July 7 had demanded in her petition before the High Court that the case be transferred to the Anti-Terrorism Squad as there had been no headway since 2015.
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 in the August 3 hearing that the “link and mastermind” behind the killings should be investigated.
In June 2019, police arrested Hindutva activist Sharad Kalaskar in connection with Govind Pansare’s murder. Kalaskar was also linked to the murder of Dabholkar and Lankesh, the investigating agencies had said.