Sameer Gaikwad, in his early 30s, was arrested from Sangli early today after a joint operation by Kolhapur and Sangli Police. Police said Gaikwad has some criminal backgound. He was produced in a court at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra which remanded him in police custody till September 23.

Pansare 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.

The arrest comes close on the heels of the recent killing of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi at Dharwad in Karnataka on August 30. Another rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in Pune in 2013.

Left parties and rationalist forums have voiced deep concern over the delay in tracking down and apprehending the killers of these social activists and held that fundamental elements could be behind these murders. The Karnataka government yesterday announced Rs 5 lakh reward to those who could provide clues about the murder of Kalburgi.

Pansare's family has been demanding a probe into the Communist leader's murder. They had also filed a petition in the Bombay High Court which had asked Maharashtra government to file its response to the petition seeking constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the killing.

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