Govind Pansare murder: Sanatan Sanstha activist Samir Gaikwad's police custody extended

Kolhapur (Maharashtra): A court here in Maharashtra on Wednesday extended by two days the police custody of Samir Gaikwad of Hindu right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha who was arrested last week in connection with the killing of Communist leader Govind Pansare.

Gaikwad was nabbed from Sangli on September 16 by a Special Investigation Team probing the killing.

Special Public Prosecutor Chandrakant Budhale, seeking extension of police custody by another week, said police needed more time to interrogate Gaikwad, and get information about the spots he had recced.

However, magistrate Aparna Jainapure granted two more days police custody to Gaikwad till September 26.

Budhale said police recovered a laptop, 23 mobile phones, 50 SIM cards and Sanatan Sanstha literature during a raid on Gaikwad's Sangli home, while checking of his mobile call data records was under progress.

Besides, Budhale said police have recorded the statements of Gaikwad's cousins Sushil Jadhav and Shridhar Jadhav, and another accomplice, Jyoti Kamble, before a magistrate under Criminal Procedure Code Section 164 to make a watertight case against him.

From the Sanatan Sanstha side, a battery of 37 lawyers of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad were present in court to ensure that Gaikwad's human rights were not violated, a spokesperson for the organisation said.

Talking to mid-day, a senior police officer said, “The case is sensitive, and we are marching on right track. Gaikwad’s involvement has been seen and after lot of analysis and observations, we have arrested him. We are not fabricating the case.”

On Wednesday evening, Ram Shinde, Minister of state for Home, held a press conference in Pune and said, “We are not under any pressure, and neither we are pressuring the police in the investigations.”

When questioned about calls for banning Sanatan Sanstha, he stated, “At present we are not planning to ban, as the probe is still going on. After the complete investigations are over we will look into it.”

Pansare, 81, and his wife Uma were shot at by two motorcycle-riding youth on the morning of February 16, 2015 outside their home in the city.

While Pansare succumbed to his injuries four days later, his wife survived the attack which rendered her a cripple.

In a related development, Pansare's daughter Smita Pansare reiterated her demand to ban the Sanatan Sanstha as her father's murder was carried out not by an individual but by a group.

(With inputs from Chaitraly Deshmukh)

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