The special investigation team (SIT) probing the Govind Pansare murder case filed the chargesheet in the case in a Kolhapur court on Monday, claiming that a 14-year-old boy had seen Sameer Gaikwad, a Sanatan Sanstha member who is the only person arrested in the case so far, at the crime spot when the veteran Communist leader was shot on February 16 this year.
The 372-page chargesheet was filed before judicial magistrate (first class) R D Dange in Kolhapur, public prosecutor Chandrakant Budhlale said. He said the chargesheet included statements of as many as 77 witnesses. “A 14-year-old boy (name cannot be revealed) has identified Gaikwad on the location of the crime during the identification parade. But the police are not dependent on him… The court has also considered the communication Gaikwad has done with other persons, including Jyoti Kamble, Sumit Khamankar and Anjali Jarkar,” he said.
The next hearing in the case is due on December 18, when Gaikwad will be present in court.
Two unidentified assailants had opened fire on Pansare and his wife Uma when they were returning home from morning walk in Kolhapur on February 16 this year. While Pansare died four days later during treatment, his wife, who too received a bullet injury, subsequently recovered.
On September 16, the SIT had arrested Gaikwad and booked him under sections 302, 307, 206, 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections of the Arms Act. The SIT said his conversations with Jyoti Kamble of Satara, Kamankar of Yavatmal and Anjali Jarkar of Panvel, all associated to Sanatan Sanstha, were suspicious.
Earlier, the prosecution had told the court that though Gaikwad had claimed during police questioning that he spoke about Pansare’s murder only “jokingly” over phone, the content of his conversion was “serious” and that it was hard to believe he was merely joking. The prosecution had also told the court that a “psychological evaluation” conducted by the experts in CBI on Gaikwad had revealed he was “deceptive”. It has sought court’s nod for a brain mapping test on Gaikwad. But since he did not give his consent, the court denied the nod.
Investigators had recovered two cellphones from Gaikwad when he was arrested and 23 more from his home along with 31 SIM cards, a sharp weapon and material of Sanatan Sanstha. One of his SIM cards was said to be active in Kolhapur on February 16.
When contacted, Gaikwad’s lawyer Sanjiv Punalekar said, “Pansare’ wife Uma was on the spot when the crime took place and she has not identified Sameer Gaikwad. Also, hundreds of people have seen Gaikwad in Thane on the day of the crime. His cellphone details also show he was in Thane. The SIM card active in Kolhapur on the day of crime is not in Gaikwad’s name. Police are aware of these facts.”
The police had also said they wanted to investigate whether Rudra Patil, a Sanatan Sanstha worker wanted in connection with the Goa blast of October 2009, was having any links with the Pansare murder case. Rudra, however, has not been made an accused in this case yet.