Naming ENT Specialist Dr Virendrasingh Tawde as the main conspirator in the murder of CPI leader Govind Pansare, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Tuesday filed its chargesheet in the case. The chargesheet was filed at a special court in Kolhapur. Other than Tawde, the SIT has named right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha members — Sarang Akolkar, Vinay Pawar and Rudra Patil — as wanted accused in the case.
While Akolkar and Pawar are shown as assailants in the murder of Pune-based rationalist Narendra Dabholkar by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Patil is wanted in the 2009 Goa blast case. This is the second chargesheet in the case. Earlier, the SIT had filed a chargesheet against another Sanatan Sanstha member, Sameer Vishnu Gaikwad (32) who was arrested in September, 2015.
Sources said the second chargesheet states the conspiracy to kill Pansare was hatched a few months before the murder at the outfit’s office in Panvel and at the resident of a sadhak at Kolhapur. The meeting was attended by Tawde, Gaikwad and the wanted accused. In December 2014, Tawde also travelled to Kolhapur and carried a recce of Pansare’s office before the murder, according to the chargesheet. According to sources, a black motorbike used in the recce and subsequently by the assassins belonged to Tawde. He also provided the weapons.
Sources add other than a 14-year old eyewitness who saw the assailants, the police have also recorded the statement of many Sanatan Sanstha members under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). These members have given details of the conspiracy and the involvement of the arrested and wanted accused. “One of the key witnesses who was a sadhak with the outfit has identified the shooters and has stated in his statement that Pawar and Tawde visited his Kolhapur home in December 2014 just two months before Pansare’s murder. The visit was for the purpose of carrying out a recce of Pansare’s office ,” added the official. “The said sadhak always provided shelter to the wanted accused when they visited Kolhapur,” the official further added. The state police has revealed ‘ideological difference’ and the “hatred’ that Tawde had toward Pansare as the motive behind the murder. “Pansare was very vocal of his criticism of the right-wing outfit. He also wrote and spoke against Sanatan Sanstha at various meetings, gatherings which did go down well with Tawde. At many occasions they even had face-offs with each other,” said an official who is privy to the chargesheet.
The chargesheet has also enlisted seizures made by the SIT including around 20 boxes of psychotropic drugs. A Tempo Trax registered in the name of arrested accused Tawde was also seized. The police suspect the said vehicle was used while carrying out reconnaissance before murdering the rationalist in February, 2015. While the vehicle was registered in Tawde’s name, he had given it to the Sanatan Santha. It was recovered from outfit’s ashram in Panvel. Defence lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar said, “If Gaikwad and Tawde are conspirators, they should have at least been subjected to a confrontation but my clients have told me that the SIT never had a face-off between the two. Contrary to the claims made SIT, the two were not even acquainted to each other.”