The two suspects - Rudra Patil and Sarang Akolkar alias Kulkarni - are absconding since the Madgaon blast in which two activists of the Sanstha, Gonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, had succumbed to injuries when the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) they were carrying in a scooter - also owned by an outfit member - exploded prematurely at Madgaon in Goa on October 16, 2009.

"We also suspect Rudra as a prime accused in the Pansare murder case and have launched a manhunt to nab him," a police officer cited on condition of anonymity. Sanatan Sanstha member Samir Gaikwad was arrested last week while three others - one from Mumbai and two from Karnataka - were detained in connection with the case.

"Investigation into the Call Data Records (CDR) of Samir Gaikwad has shown that he was in constant touch with Rudra and both had recced the place of Pansare's family in Kolhapur in January, a month before the CPI leader was shot dead," the officer said.

Rudra is Gonda Patil's cousin and a 'big sympathiser' of the right wing outfit, the officer added, adding that more details in this regard would be officially revealed soon by the SIT. Rudra's wife Preeti Patil is a lawyer and has shown an urge to fight Gaikwad's case as Kolhapur district bar association has already disassociated itself with it, he said.

Pansare, 82, and his wife, Uma, were shot at by two motorcycle-borne youths on February 16, 2015, near their home in Kolhapur. Pansare died four days later at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. His wife survived the attack, but suffered injuries that have crippled her.

Rudra along with Sarang have been declared absconders by National Investigation Agency (NIA) since the 2009 Goa blasts. NIA has uploaded Rudra's profile on its website mentioning his address as Panchmukhi, Maruti Road, Gaonbhag, Sangli, Maharashtra and Flat No. 8, Dattakrupa Apartment, Joshi Gali, Gaonbhang, Sangli Maharashtra. However, no cash reward has been announced on him on the website.

Meanwhile, Sanatan Sanstha spokesman Abhay Vartak came out in support of Rudra Patil, saying he is 'our driving force and we will be standing as a rock behind him'.

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