Pansare murder: Maharashtra SIT to interrogate Sri Ram Sene activist Waghmore
Unravelling the Gauri Lankesh murder case The Maharashtra SIT is planning to interrogate the arrested Sri Ram Sene activist Parashuram Waghmore, prime accused in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, in connection with the killing of veteran communist leader Govind Pansare, said police sources.“A team of the State SIT will be going to Karnataka soon to interrogate Waghmore,” said Sanjay Kumar, additional director general (ADG), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), who is heading the SIT in the Pansare murder case.Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Kumar, however, said that the Maharashtra SIT would not be seeking Waghmore’s custody as the suspects in both crimes [Lankesh and Pansare] were affiliated to different fringe outfits.“The suspects in our [Pansare] case and the Gauri Lankesh case belong to different groups. In the Pansare case, the suspects belong to the Sanatan Sanstha while in the latter they are associated with the Sri Ram Sene and the Hindu Yuva Sene,” he said, adding that there were two weapons used in the Pansare murder case.Also Read Mr. Kumar further said that the Maharashtra and the Karnataka SITs had been coordinating and that the former team had even visited the neighbouring State once last month.The Karnataka SIT have yet to recover the murder weapon – a 7.65 mm bore country-made pistol – reportedly used to kill Pansare, scholar M.M. Kalburgi and Lankesh.“Since the Karnataka SIT have spoken of a connection between the two [Lankesh and Pansare] cases, the Maharashtra SIT ought to seek Waghmore’s custody. Especially, as the ballistic report says that the same weapon was used,” Megha Pansare, Pansare’s daughter-in-law, told The Hindu.Not a smooth investigationPansare, along with his wife Uma, were repeatedly shot at by motorcycle-borne assailants while returning from a morning stroll in Kolhapur’s Sagar Mal locality on February 16, 2015. While Ms. Pansare survived, the communist leader succumbed to his wounds in Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital on February 20.Since then, investigation into Pansare’s murder has been marred by the tardy pace of probe agencies, leading to the prime accused, Sanatan Sanstha activist Sameer Gaikwad, being granted bail.In June last year, the court, after three rejections, had accorded conditional bail to Gaikwad, who was picked up from Sangli district in western Maharashtra in September 2015 – the first arrest in the Pansare case.In January this year, the Kolhapur sessions court granted conditional bail to radical Hindutva activist Virendra Tawde in connection with his suspected role in the killing of the veteran leader.According to probe agencies, Tawde is a crucial link to the murders of both Pansare and rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. The SIT’s supplementary charge sheet even names Tawde as ‘mastermind’ in the Pansare murder, suspecting him of conducting the reconnaissance before the murder.