Govind Pansare
Communist leader Govind Pansare.Facebook/ Govind Pansare

A Special Investigation Team on Wednesday arrested a man in connection with the murder of CPI rationalist leader Govind Pansare in Maharashtra's Sangli district, seven months after his murder, according to reports.

On Thursday, four more unidentified people were arrested in connection with Pansare's murder.

The suspect, identified as Sameer Gaikwad, was arrested in a joint operation by Kolhapur and Sangli police from his Moti Chowk residence at 4:30am on 16 September.

"We are searching Gaikwad's premises in Mumbai, Sangli and other places. We have unearthed some evidence against him which has been submitted before the court," Pune Additional Director General of Police (CID) Sanjay Kumar told mediapersons.

The 32-year-old, who is a member of right-wing group Sanatan Sansta, has been under observation for quite some time. He was produced before a local court in the afternoon and was remanded to police custody for seven days.

The veteran Communist leader was shot in Kolhapur on 16 February when he was out for a morning walk. He was flown to Mumbai for treatment, where he succumbed to his injuries four days later.

In August, Kannada scholar and rationalist Malleshappa M Kalburgi, the former vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi, was shot dead by two unidentified men at his residence in Dharwad district, 430 km north of Karnataka capital Bengaluru.  

In 2013, another social activist, Narendra Dabholkar, who had spoke against superstions, was shot dead in Pune.