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Pansare's murder: NIA names prime suspect, Sanatan Sanstha in trouble

Ashwin Aghor | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 4:49 IST

The suspects

  • NIA has named Rudra Patil as the mastermind behind Govind Pansare\'s murder
  • He is a Sanatan Sanstha volunteer and is absconding in connection with the 2009 Madgaon blast
  • His name was revealed after NIA questioned Sameer Gaikward
  • CBI questioned the same suspects in connection with MM Kalburgi\'s murder

The organisation

  • Sanatan Sanstha is a Hindu fundamentalist organisation
  • It follows Savarkar\'s ideology and isn\'t averse to using violence
  • The Sanstha, on its part, has denied any role in the murders
  • However, they have expressed full support for Gaikwad and other suspects

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has named Rudra Patil as the main conspirator behind Govind Pansare's murder.

Patil is a Sanatan Sanstha volunteer who has been absconding for the last six years.

NIA sources reveal that investigators arrived at this conclusion after questioning Sameer Gaikwad, who is presently in the custody of the Kolhapur police.

Meanwhile the custody of Gaikwad and other suspects in the murder has been extended for 7 days.

pansare murder rudra patil

A photo of Rudra Patil, the suspected killer.

Apparently, even the Central Bureau of Investigation questioned the suspects, but this was in connection with the murder of Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi.

Patil and Sarang Akolkar alias Kulkarni are wanted in connection with the Madgaon blast, that took place on 16 October 2009. The duo, along with one Yogesh Naik were carrying improvised explosive devices (IED) on a two wheeler. The explosives went off when they were carrying them.

Rudra Patil, a Sanatan Sanstha volunteer, is also wanted in connection with the 2009 Madgaon blast

Investigators anaylsed Gaikwad's call records, which relvealed that he was in contact with Rudra Patil. Apparently, he had surveyed the area where Pansare lived in Kolhapur.

Sources said that Rudra Patil is a cousin of Gonda Patil, a known sympathiser of the Sanatan Sanstha. The NIA website says that he is a resident of Sangli, Maharashtra.

While the Kolhapur Bar Association has decided not to take Gaikwad's case, Patil's wife Preeti, an advocate, has decided to represent him.

The murder

On 16 February this year, 2 unidentified motorcycle borne youths opened fire at Pansare and his wife near their house, when the couple was returing from their morning walk. Pansare succumbed to his injuries 4 days later at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, while his wife Uma survived the assault.

The NIA website lists Patil as "most wanted" and an Interpol Red Corner Notice has been issued against him. However, there is no cash reward announced for providing information about him.

Calling Sanatan Sanstha a hardcore Hindu fundementalist outfit, a retired IB official said, "The Sanstha has always believed in VD Savarkar's ideology. It does not see anything wrong in using violent means". The Sanstha is known to have resorted to such acts in the past as well, the official added.

Sanatan Sanstha's stand

Meanwhile, the Sanatan Sanstha has expressed its full support for Gaikwad and others arrested in connection with Pansare's murder. Sanjeev Punalekar, secretary of Council of Hindu Lawyers, has claimed that the Sanatan Sanstha had been cooperating with the investigating agencies to nab the killers of Narendra Dabholkar and Pansare.

"We had given some vital information to the investigating agencies about Dabholkar's murder. However, the government and the investigating agencies failed to realise the importance of the information," Punalekar said.

He also claimed that the Sanstha had tried to reach out to the family members of Dabholkar and other anti-superstition crusaders in Maharashtra to help in the investigations. "None of them even acknowledged the receipt of the letters, leave alone responding to our pleas to start a dialogue," Punalekar said.

The association had written to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra on 18 September raising some concerns about the lacunae in the investigations into Dabholkar's murder.

"We had written to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhay Thackeray expressing our concerns over the manner in which the investigations were proceeding. We have always believed that this is a case of vendetta," Punalekar said.

First published: 22 September 2015, 1:51 IST
Ashwin Aghor @CatchNews

Journalist based in Mumbai.