With a team from the National Investigating Agency (NIA) joining in the probe to nab the killers of veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare, it has now emerged that arrested Sanatan Sanstha activist Sameer Gaikwad was in contact with Rudra Patil, another outfit member accused in the 2009 Madgaon blast case in Goa.
According to sources, Patil’s name emerged from Gaikwad’s tapped mobile phone call records. Patil, along with yet another Sanatan Sanstha member, Dilip Akolkar of Pune, was among the 12 charged by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in the 2009 Madgaon blast case. The absconding duo have been eluding the NIA dragnet since then.
Recce of Pansare’s home
Senior officers probing the threads of the case in Sangli and Kolhapur now suggest that Rudra Patil, along with Gaikwad and a couple of others, may have done recce of Pansare’s home in Kolhapur.
Sources say it is clear that Gaikwad was in touch with the absconding Patil and that the latter was probably well-aware, or himself essayed a major role, in the plot to murder the octogenarian Communist Party of India leader.
Fresh grillings of Gaikwad and his friend, Jyoti Kamble, continued amid tight security in Kolhapur with teams of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the NIA, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and the Kolhapur police holding several sessions and pooling clues together in a bid to crack the seventh-month long case.
TV anchor ‘next target’
Meanwhile, senior journalist and TV achor Nikhil Wagle, who has been receiving threats from the Sanatan Sanstha in the past, was mentioned as the “next target” after Pansare in Gaikwad’s phone conversations.
Mr. Wagle, however, rejected the security detail offered him by the Maharashtra government.
“The government did not specify whether any threat emanated from the Sanstha. They said they were offering a security blanket in view of the general threat perception,” said Mr. Wagle in Mumbai.
Mr. Wagle has run afoul of the Sanstha earlier when four years back, a Sanatan activist walked out of his programme in a huff. According to him, he received a warning in the Santan Prabhat (the Sanstha’s mouthpiece) as recently as last week.