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Right wing activist arrested in Pansare murder case

Govind Pansare

Mumbai: A man allegedly having links with rightwing outfit ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ was today arrested in connection with the killing of veteran Communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare in February this year.

Sameer Gaikwad, in his early 30s, was arrested from Sangli in a joint operation by Kolhapur and local police, based on leads obtained through electronic surveillance.

Inspector General of Police Sanjay Kumar Verma, heading the SIT in the case, told reporters in Kolhapur that Sameer is an active member of Sanatan Sanstha since 1998.

“Not only Sameer, but also his entire family is associated with Sanatan,” Verma said.

Reacting to the charge, Sanatan spokesperson Sandip Shinde said Sameer is not guilty of the crime he is being accused of and has been falsely implicated in the case.

Sameer was taken into custody after police went through his “innumerable” phone call records.

He was produced in a court at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra which remanded him in police custody till September 23.

Pansare (81) was gunned down outside his home in Sagar Mala locality of Kolhapur city on February 16 and succumbed to his injuries on February 20 at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital.

Sanatan Sanstha had grabbed headlines after the Panvel, Thane and Vashi blasts that took place in Maharashtra in 2007 in which the Mumbai ATS had chargesheeted six members of the organisation and its front, the Hindu Janjagriti Samiti.

In 2009, a low intensity bomb went off in Goa for which members of the right wing organisation were chargesheeted. The blast took place at Madgaon in Goa on October 16, 2009, the eve of Diwali.

Two activists of the Sanstha had succumbed to injuries when the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) they were carrying in a scooter – also owned by a Sanstha member – exploded prematurely.

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