Hindu right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha member Rudra Patil, a suspect in leftist Govind Pansare’s murder, was in regular touch with the mastermind of the 2009 Goa bomb blast, police said.

Patil, who has been on the run since the 2009 improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Goa, is one of the main suspects in Pansare’s murder, said the Maharashtra Police Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Police also said that Patil was in telephonic touch with 32-year-old Sameer Gaikwad, a member of the Sanstha, who was also arrested in the Pansare murder case.

However, a statement by the Sanatan Sanstha said: "Sameer Gaikwad, arrested by police in case of the killing of comrade Govind Pansare from Kolhapur, is a full-time seeker of Sanatan Sanstha, and we are sure that he is innocent."

A probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the blast on Diwali at South Goa’s Margao town revealed that Rudra Patil was in touch with the mastermind Malgonda Patil, who died in the explosion.

On October 16, 2009, Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, both full-time members of the Goa-based Sanatan Sanstha, died while ferrying IEDs on their scooter to a Diwali gathering in Margao, located 35 km from Panaji.

The Sanstha has strongly opposed organisation of Narakasura Vadh celebration during Diwali, insisting it ends up glorifying the demon rather his slayer, Lord Krishna.

"Malgonda was putting the plan together. We believe he was taking instructions from someone," an NIA official familiar with the probe told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Founded by the United Kingdom-returned clinical hypnotherapist Jayant Athavale, the Sanatan Sanstha is headquartered in Ramnathi, in Ponda, known for a cluster of popular temples.

The Sanstha has several thousand members, primarily from Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka, and also publishes a newspaper and a range of magazines and books.

Several top politicians, including some cabinet ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led coalition cabinet have backed the organisation in public fora.

Pansare was shot, along with his wife, near his residence in Kolhapur in Maharashtra on February 16. He died from his injuries four days later.