A Kolhapur court on Saturday granted bail to Samir Gaikwad, an accused in the murder case of rationalist Govind Pansare, reported news agency ANI. Gaikwad’s bail plea had been rejected thrice before. In the earlier hearing on Thursday, it was revealed there may have been more than two killers involved in the case, according to the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case. Special Public Prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar had then said that there was direct evidence of an eyewitness and corroborative circumstantial evidence to link Gaikward to the murder. Nimbalkar also opposed the bail plea on the grounds that the other accused in the case were already absconding, and granting his bail would sabotage the case.
Pansare and his wife were shot by unidentified persons in Kolhapur during their morning walk on February 16, 2015. While his wife survived, the CPI leader died at a Mumbai hospital four days later.
Gaikwad, a member of controversial right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested in Sangli on September 16, 2015, by the special investigation team of Maharashtra Police. He was sent to judicial custody on December 25, 2015, by the court in Kolhapur, which rejected police’s plea for further custody.