Pune/Mumbai: Dr Virendrasinh Tawde has been associated with the Sanatan Sanstha since 2002 and began offering his services for treating inmates of the organisation's Panvel ashram five years later. He is in charge of the Sanstha's medical wing.

The 46-year-old ENT specialist, who practised in Panvel, Satara, Nashik and Kolhapur, hails from Devgad in Konkan. He completed his primary education in Konkan and moved to Satara for higher studies. He set up his practice in Gangavesh village, Kolh-apur, in 2001. He also practised for a while at JJ Hospital, Mumbai, where he did his post-graduation.

Tawde has taken part in several meets and agitations organised by the Sanstha across the state. His wife, Nidhi, is reportedly a surgeon working in England.

Abhay Vartak, spoke-sperson of the Sanstha, told reporters in Mumbai that Tawde's arrest is part of a consistent smear campaign against the organisation.

He said around 800 people associated with the Sanstha have been questioned by investigation agencies to date. "But we never said anything; we have always cooperated."