Santan Sanstha member Sameer Vishnu Gaikwad, 32, who was arrested on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the murder of CPI leader Govind Pansare, was questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2010, reportedly in connection with the blast in Margao, Goa.
In October 2009, two Sanatan Sanstha members, Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, died while allegedly ferrying explosives to a crowded spot in Margao. The low intensity bomb went off before they could plant it. Gaikwad is reported to have shared close links with Patil — they were both from Sangli.
Additional Director General of Police Sanjay Kumar, who is heading the special investigation team set up to probe the Pansare case, confirmed that Gaikwad was earlier questioned by the NIA. According to police records, Gaikwad was never arrested or booked in any offence in the past.
Police on Thursday detained a few more persons for questioning, including Gaikwad’s brothers-in-law Shridhar Vijay Jadhav, 23, and Sudhir Vijay Jadhav, 20, both residents of Sankeshwar in Belgaum district of Karnataka.
Police also conducted searches at Gaikwad’s house, “Bhaveshwari Chhaya”, in a middle-class neighbourhood of Sangli. While his relatives and friends were questioned, about 20 cellphones and Sanatan Sanstha material were reportedly recovered during the searches.
Police have reportedly roped in experts for Gaikwad’s voice analysis. Following Pansare’s death in February, Gaikwad’s phones were put under surveillance and his calls were monitored for six months. Gaikwad is reported to have frequently discussed Pansare with his wife.
The teams from Pune, Mumbai, Karnataka and Kolhapur, probing the murders of Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi, shared information on the cases.
“Police have detained Shridhar and Sudhir Jadhav. They were picked up illegally, without any prior notice to them or their family members. As their cellphones were switched off, their family members approached the police for filing a complaint. But the police refused to take their complaints. Now, they say they have detained the duo,” said Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Sandeep Shinde.
“Police should stop targeting innocent persons. Gaikwad is innocent… arresting him falsely in this murder case is a conspiracy against the Sanatan Sanstha,” he said.