KOLHAPUR: Half an hour before they were attacked, veteran communist leader Govind Pansare and his wife, Uma, were approached by two youths on a motorcycle, who asked Uma for directions to Torna colony where the couple lives, police sources said.
The Pansares were still on their morning walk then. The police suspect that the same youths waited near their house and shot at them when they returned.”Uma remembers that the youth riding the bike was wearing a pink shirt. This has been corroborated by an eyewitness,” said a source. Police superintendent Manojkumar Sharma refused to confirm or deny the development.

The sources further said that Uma, who is still on medication and has not completely shaken off her trauma, has not been very consistent with her statements. She is partially paralyzed on the right side after the attack as she was hit by two bullets. Doctors say that she can be cured with physiotherapy. Doctors said Pansare’s health was improving and he has been conscious since Thursday morning, although he is still on ventilator.

The state government has set up 10 new teams to probe the attack. This takes the number of squads in the investigation to 20. Speaking on the progress of the investigation, Sharma said, “Pansare’s close associates and members of his organization have told us that he had received several threat letters. We have managed to find just one such threat letter in his office. Pansare had received this letter a few years ago.”

A team of policemen is examining the CCTV footage collected from several places in the city. Another squad is busy analyzing the calls that Pansare had received during the last few days. A team from the cybercrime cell is checking the posts related to Pansare on social media websites.

The police are questioning Pansare’s close associates and Communist Party members. They are poring over Pansare’s recent speeches made in rallies organized in Kolhapur and neighbouring districts.

“Three bikes from various parts of the city have been seized. We are finding out who owned and used them,” a senior police officer said.A Mumbai crime branch team arrived in the city on Wednesday night.

(Inputs from Clara Lewis)