Sanjay Sandvilkar, the prime witness in the murder of Govind Pansare, and three other witnesses have reportedly told investigators that key accused Dr Virendra Tawde had approached Sandvilkar, a former ‘sadhak’ with Sanatan Sanstha, telling him to make weapons at his metal manufacturing unit in Kolhapur and even provide accommodation to the wanted accused “assigned the task of conducting reconnaissance”.
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The almost identical statements by these witnesses have been attached by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the supplementary chargesheet filed by it in CPI leader Govind Pansare’s murder case last month. The statements of Sandvilkar and his three employees have been recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The chargesheet indicates that Sanatan Sanstha members Sameer Gaikwad and Sarang Akolkar were the shooters in the case. Gaikwad was already chargesheeted last year. Another accused Vinay Pawar’s presence at the murder spot both a day before and a few hours before the murder was suspicious.
On February 16, 2015, two motorcycle-borne persons fired at Pansare and his wife Uma when the couple was out on a walk. A bullet hit Uma’s head, causing a fracture in her skull. She survived the attack but suffered paralysis. Pansare was shot with a 7.65 mm firearm.
In their statements, Sandvilkar and his three employees have said, “In April 2013, Tawde visited the manufacturing unit owned by Sandvilkar. Sandvilkar informed Tawde that he had quit Sanatan Sanstha and was now concentrating on his business. However, Tawde told him that he could work for ‘Hindu dharma’ even from his home. Tawde told him that they would require weapons for ‘religious purposes’ to fight ‘anti-Hindu forces’ and that he (Sandvilkar) could manufacture it for them. To this, Sandvilkar replied that without having a look at the weapons and its parts, he cannot commit on making those. Tawde left after that,” according to the statement.
“After 8 to 10 days, Tawde sent a person to Sandvilkar’s Kolhapur workshop with the weapons — a pistol and a
revolver. However, Sandvilkar refused to take delivery citing there was a jail nearby and that he will share details of another locations where the ‘courier’ could deliver the weapons,” says the statement.
In the chargesheet, the agency says, Tawde visited Sandvilkar two days later and asked him to arrange for accommodation for two people who would be visiting Kolhapur for “research on a few persons”. “Two people need to do some ‘research’ on a few people and you have to arrange for their accommodations. A few days later, two men arrived at our workshop around 8 pm. However, Sandvilkar told them that since you have come without informing him, he hasn’t made the arrangements. The two men then left the workshop,” the statements read.
The witnesses have identified the two as Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar. The chargesheet also shows that Tawde used codes to escape the surveillance radar. “Tawde is time and again asking for ‘chocolate’. When I enquired with Sandvilkar what he meant by chocolate, he said it was a code used for cartridges,” according to the statement of one of the employees.