The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department told the Bombay High Court on Friday that they have established some commonality between the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, PTI reported. The court was hearing a plea filed by families of Dabholkar and Pansare seeking court supervision of the investigations into their murders.

Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist, was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013. Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 near his house in Kolhapur, and died four days later. The CBI is investigating the Dabholkar killing, while the CID is investigating the Pansare case.

The CBI told a division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel on Friday that all accused in the Dabholkar case have been arrested, but the weapons used in the crime is yet to be recovered.

The CBI told the court that it will carry out a search within a month for four country-made pistols which have allegedly been disposed off into a creek near Thane. “We are awaiting necessary permissions from government agencies to undertake the operation,” CBI counsel Anil Singh said. However, the bench said the operation should be carried out before the onset of the monsoon season.

CID counsel Ashok Mundargi told the court that the main conspirators in the Pansare case have been arrested, and efforts are being made to nab the actual attackers. When the bench asked if there was anything common between the two cases, Mundargi said: “Yes, to some extent commonality is established between the two crimes.”

But the court said the shooters in the Pansare case should already have been arrested. “We feel like there is some spark missing in this case,” the bench said. “It is the credibility of the probe agency that is at stake. It is a case where eminent persons like Dabholkar and Pansare have been killed.”

It said the government should provide all assistance possible to the investigation agencies.

So far, six people, including Sanatan Sanstha member and ENT surgeon Virendrasinh Tawde, and suspected shooters Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar, have been arrested in the Dabholkar murder case. On June 4, the CBI told a special court in Pune that a lawyer and his assistant arrested in connection with the murder have not been cooperating with the inquiry.

In March, the Bombay High Court had pulled up the Maharashtra government for its alleged laxity in pursuing the two cases. It had wondered whether Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was too busy to enquire about the investigations into the killings.