Goa Congress seeks appointment with Manohar Parrikar, demands CM meet Opposition leaders

The Goa Congress Sunday said it would seek an appointment with ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to apprise him of how BJP leaders and state bureaucrats were taking “advantage” of his absence from office.

Congress’ Goa unit spokesperson Swati Kerkar said the chief minister’s office and the BJP have been claiming that Parrikar’s health was improving but appointments sought by her party had been denied on health grounds.

The Opposition party leaders have a right to meet the CM. Why are we being denied an audience with the CM of the State. If the CM can supposedly chair a meeting of the Investment Promotion Board via video conferencing, why can’t he meet a couple of Opposition leaders. For the last two months, the CM has not met any Opposition leader, the Congress said.

Parrikar is suffering from a pancreatic ailment and is currently being treated at his residence here after returning to the state on October 14 from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“We want to bring to the Chief Minister’s notice how his office and the party are taking undue advantage of his absence to threaten staffers whose family members are associated with the Congress,” Kerkar said.

She alleged that the state administration had “collapsed” and bureaucrats were taking advantage of the situation as there was “no one” to hold them accountable.

“Today, if the Chief Ministers health is improving and he is clearing files and chairing meetings through video-conferencing, then the Congress delegation should be allowed to meet him,” Kerkar said.

with inputs from NDTV

Amit Shah, Goa BJP leaders promised me a Cabinet berth, GTDC chairmanship for joining party: Dayanand Sopte

Former Congress’ Mandrem MLA Dayanand Sopte, who joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earlier this week, on Sunday announced that the saffron party has promised and guaranteed him a Cabinet berth next month and until then he has been assured of Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) chairmanship, reports The Herald.

The BJP in Goa is likely to have a Cabinet rejig after Diwali and portfolios are expected to be reallocated, sources said.

Addressing around 500 supporters at a meeting in Mandrem constituency, Sopte said that BJP has assured him of getting support from former MLA Laxmikant Parsekar and the alliance partners- MGP and Goa Forward Party.

“They promised me that they would convince Parsekar to support me so that we could work together,” Sopte is reported to have told his supporters.

“I joined BJP only for development of the constituency and to ensure jobs to my people,” he said.

He said that during his meeting with BJP state leaders and Amit Shah he demanded jobs for the people, development, ministry and support from BJP workers and Parsekar.

“The Party leadership has promised me a ministry next month and till then I will be appointed as GTDC Chairman,” he said.

Former Goa CM Parsekar has already expressed his anguish over the party’s decision to induct his arch rival Sopte and has announced to work against Sopte in the coming by-election.

Meanwhile, Sopte said that despite being in the Congress he had a cordial relationship with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP Ministers and MLAs.

“That is the reason that irrespective of the fact that I was in Opposition, Government gave Rs 32 crore to my constituency for developmental works in 18 months,” Sopte said.

Lashing out at the Congress, Sopte said that despite emerging as single largest party Congress failed to form Government only because they could not finalise their leader.

“After that, we got three different opportunities to form government but even after that we failed. Only because there was more than one leader,” he said.

Sopte recalled how the then Congress MLA and current BJP Minister Vishwajit Rane had asked him to quit the party along with him soon after Assembly election results in 2017. “But then, I did not wanted to betray the people, who had voted for me,” he said.

Source: Herald & Agencies

Actor Kate Sharma files complaint against Subhash Ghai, claims he grabbed and tried to kiss her

A molestation complaint has been filed against director Subhash Ghai by television actor and model Kate Sharma.

While addressing the media after filing the complaint, Kate alleged that the Bollywood film director molested her by forcefully trying to kiss and hug her.

“He called me to his house on August 6. There were about five to six people at his house and in front of everybody, he asked me to give him a massage. It was shocking for me but I respected his seniority and agreed. I massaged him for two to three minutes and then went to the washroom to wash my hand. He followed me there. He then took me to his room saying that he wanted to talk to me about something. However, he grabbed me and tried to kiss and hug me.”

When she requested to leave, the Khalnayak director tried to threaten her, she said.

“I told him that I wanted to leave. He then threatened me and said that he will not launch me if I do not stay with him for the night,” Sharma said.

Earlier this week, Ghai was accused of harassment by an anonymous woman on social media. In the post, the woman had accused the filmmaker of drugging her and raping her.

Shortly after the accusations were made, Ghai firmly denied the claims.

In a statement, the 73-year-old had said that it’s sad that it is becoming a fashion to malign anyone known “by bringing stories from the past without truth or half-truth. I deny, strictly and firmly, all false allegations like these.”

He also said, in a tweet, that his lawyers will “take care of the matter”.

I am surely a grt supporter of d metoo movement n women empowerment bt hope that those taking undue advantage of the movement do not end up diluting it 4their own short time fame.

I feel grief if some one trying 2harm my reputation.Any way my lawyers will take care of matter

Subhash Ghai (@SubhashGhai1) October 14, 2018
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, which gained momentum in India after Tanushree Dutta accused veteran actor Nata Patekar of harassing her, accusations are being levelled against many personalities in media and the entertainment industry, including Vikas Bahl, Alok Nath, Rajat Kapoor and Sajid Khan.

Source: ANI

Goa BJP’s Old Website Hacked, “Pakistan Zindabad” Message Posted

PANAJI: An old web site of BJP’s Goa State unit was hacked Monday by unknown persons, who posted the message “Pakistan Zindabad” on it, a party functionary said.

The identity of the group which possibly carried out the cyber attack “Team PCE” and an individual’s name “Mohammad Bilal” were also posted on the web page, after it was hacked.

The hacker, after defacing the web site, left the message “mailto:catch.if.you.can@hotmail.com”.


A BJP functionary attached to the party’s IT cell said the website in question was an old one. He added that the new web site has anti-hacking security measures in place.

He said the BJP had integrated its state units with the new web site, which remained unharmed in the cyber attack.

BJP Goa general secretary Sadanand Tanavade refused to divulge details in connection with the cyber attack.

The party has not filed a police complain as yet, functionaries said.

Source: PTI

#MeToo: Singer-Model Razia Nair Rao accuses Bigg Boss 12 contestant Sahil Patel AKA Saurabh Patel of molesting her, demanding sexual favors

Classical singer and aspiring model Razia Nair Rao has claimed that Bigg Boss 12 contestant Sahil Patel aka Saurabh Patel allegedly molested her at Bungalow No 41, located at Four Bungalows, MAHADA area of Andheri West, near Lokhandwala in the year 2016 at a party.

He was a known casting director in the area at that time and was casting for Rashmi Sharma Telefims and shows like CID, Crime Patrol etc.

There was a party at the office of Starline Productions located at Bungalow No 41 at Mahada, Four Bungalows and I went there with a friend who is also a model. It was the first week of November 2016, just after Diwali and many other models were also present.

Speaking to IndiaScoops.com Razia Nair Rao said: This was when Sahil Patel molested me. He touched me on my butt and on my breasts a couple of times while pretending to dance with me. He even tried to forcibly kiss me and squeezed my breasts violently when I stopped him from kissing me. I pushed him away and the organizers of the party told me to just let the matter go as it would spoil the entire party.”

“In fact, there was a big fight on that day at Bungalow No 41, when another aspiring actress and model by the name of Pearl Raah who was also present at the party, clashed with another casting director. There were 3-4 casting directors and they were all drunk. A passing police patrol van also stopped by, but the party organizers managed to ‘handle’ the cops. Sahil Patel introduced me to someone whom he claimed was a producer and told me that I would have to sleep with him, if I wanted to get into his camp or bag his projects, Razia Nair Rao told IndiaScoops.com in an exclusive interview, adding that she stomped out of the party in disgust.

When asked IndiaScoops.com by as to why she kept quiet all this while for two years, Razia Nair Rao said: I do not want any publicity nor am I making these statements for any media mileage. I have kept quiet about this incident, because I presumed that he was possibly drunk on that day. However, when I saw him in Bigg Boss, Season 12 and learnt that he has lied about his name and occupation, I decided to talk to the media and expose him. The #MeToo campaign has further given me courage to speak up, Razia Nair Rao told IndiaScoops.com.

IndiaScoops.com has learnt that Sahil Patel changed his name to Saurabh Patel and was a struggling casting director for the last four years, operating out of a 4×4 cubicle in MAHADA which served as his casting agency office.

In the year 2016, he teamed up with another outfit, Starline Films and Productions run by a fashion photographer and was operating and conducting auditions at Bungalow No 41 at Four Bungalows, MAHDA along with the fashion photographer and others.

Sahil Patel had several debts and somehow managed to find some friends in the casting agencies associated with Colors and Endemol who were casting for Bigg Boss 12.

According to a sting operation conducted by IndiaScoops.com, for this season, Endemol had outsourced the casting to several free-lance casting consultants and was paying them Rs 5000 for every candidate short-listed.

IndiaScoops.com has copies and print screen images of emails sent by Endemol officials to various casting directors from Adarsh Nagar and MAHADA near Lokhandwala as well as agents in Delhi who did the casting for the channel on a free-lance basis.

Speaking exclusively to IndiaScoops.com, the fashion photographer said: Sahil met me in Goa before the show and told me that he was entering as a farmer. He told me how he managed to con the makers and pose as a commoner along with his partner who was also a struggling actor.

The duo have allegedly spent Rs 2-3 lakh on the setup and “fraud” to convince the production house to take them on, the photographer revealed to IndiaScoops.com, adding that they paid someone Rs 2 lakh so that Sahil could enter the show.

4 arrested for assault on Times Now TV journalist Herman Gomes in Mumbai

Four persons have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a television journalist near his house in south Mumbai, police said Monday.

The accused, all city residents aged between 20 and 25 years, were nabbed late Sunday night from Tardeo area, a senior police official said.

Herman Gomes, working with a private TV channel, was returning home along with a friend in a taxi on Sunday when he saw four to six men waiting near his house in Gamdevi area.

The men started abusing Gomes and later allegedly assaulted him and also hit his friend, as per the victim.

Gomes was injured in the attack and later received six stitches near his eyes.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone-II) Dnyaneshwar Chavan, said prima facie it appears the incident might have taken place in the heat of the moment following some argument.

“However, we are trying to go into the depth of the matter,” he said, adding, the accused do not have any criminal background.

Based on Gomes’ complaint, the Gamdevi Police had registered a case under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 324 (voluntary causing hurt by dangerous weapons) and other relevant provisions.

Journalists’ associations in the city had Sunday condemned the attack and alleged that police did not file the victim’s complaint promptly.

The Mumbai Press Club termed the attack on Gomes a “dastardly act”.

An association of crime reporters in the city have urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take action against police officers who allegedly delayed registration of the First Information Report (FIR) in the matter.

Minister of State for Home (urban), Ranjit Patil had later said an investigation was on into the incident and “correct steps will be taken in the direction”.

Source: PTI

Goa PWD Min Sudin Dhavalikar and family helped raise funds for terror outfit Sanatan Sanstha, MGP MLA vociferously defends Sanatan Sanstha after India Today sting?

Reacting to INDIA TODAY TV’s big expose which nailed Sanatan Sanstha’s terror activities and their involvement in the Navi Mumbai blast in 2009, the Goa PWD minister was seen and heard defending Sanatan Sanstha, reports India Today.

According to the Karnataka Special Investigating Team (SIT) officials – investigating the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh – who spoke to IndiaScoops.com, the Sanatan Sanstha “ashrams” at Ponda in Goa and Panvel in Maharashtra can be considered equal to the terrorist training camps in Pok.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha has 22 different outfits, registered in different States under different names

Here recruits are first mentally conditioned, brainwashed and sophisticated psychological mind-control and hypnotic techniques are used to indoctrinate and condition the new recruits, claim Karnataka SIT officials.

“The recruits from all over India are also mentally hardened and taught how to attack the cops when presented in court, after being arrested and make false allegations of torture, etc., against the investigating officers to enable the courts to go soft on them, resulting in hampering the probes,” says the head of Maharashtra ATS Atulchandra Kulkarni.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners associated with Sanatan Sanstha had planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

When Goa PWD minister and Maharashtawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) leader Sudin Dhavalikar spoke to INDIA TODAY TV, he clearly said: “Sanatan (Sanstha) is doing the great work of spreading Hindu culture and religion in Goa. They don’t believe in violence.”

When the INDIA TODAY TV reporter told him about the sting aired on Monday in which two Sanstha sadhaks (spiritual practitioners) accepted their involvement in violent acts, Dhavalikar said that their identity needed to be ascertained. Dhavilkar has been defending the Sanstha from from day one, say officials associated with the probes in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

The India Today sting also revealed that Dhavalikar and his family are associated with Sanatan Sanstha for a long time. On being asked about this, Dhavalikar said: “My family and I are associated with Sanatan. I don’t fund them but do give them advertisements. My family and I support all such organisations that are working to spread Hindu culture and religion.”

Dhavilkar’s wife is an office bearer of the Sanstha and his in-laws are also actively involved in fund raising and other activities of the outfits. One more MGP leader has been funding the Sanstha and at least six BJP leaders in Goa have donated funds to the activities of the Sanatan Sanstha.

Dhavilkar has also indirectly routed official Goa State government advertisements to the Sanatan Sanstha, claim officials familiar with the probe. 

MGP president Dipak Dhavalikar, who is Sudin Dhavalikar’s brother, had last month claimed the Sanatan Sanstha was not involved in the killings of rationalists and activists and that some people want to project the outfit as a “wrong-doer”. He had also vociferously defended the Sanstha before the media.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut, other Gau Rakshaks were involved in extortion in the guise of cow protection: Extortion money was used to fund purchase of arms

Both the Karnataka SIT and the Maharashtra ATS officials are of the view that Dhavilkar and his family have created a security umbrella for the Sanatan Sanstha in Goa, along with a few far-right BJP leaders., thus protecting the Sanstha from any police action.

The Sanstha does not submit a list of persons from other states staying at their ashrams to the ATS, as is mandatory by law. Sanstha officials have had several run-ins and clashes with Goa and Maharashtra ATS officials for non-submission of the lists of inter-state visitors at their Panvel and Ponda ashrams.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers, ban it, demands Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo

“Sanstha officials are raising funds from all over the country in the name of Hindu culture and religion and these funds are then used to fund terror activities like the purchase of arms and ammunition and to fund the murders of liberals, as was seen in the Gauri Lankesh case, where funds procured from donations, were first parked in the bank accounts of various sister outfits of the Sanatan Sanstha, including its in-house publication (Read Here) which was headed by now arrested masterminds Amit Dhagvekar and Amol Kale,” revealed a Karnataka SIT official.

Over Rs 1.5 lakh in cash was withdrawn from the Sanatan Sanstha bank accounts to pay the killers of the Gauri Lankesh murder and to fund their travel, training and accommodation expenses. The envelopes bearing the cash were in the possession of the two masterminds Amit Dhagvekar who was the editor and promoter of the publication Sanatan Prabhat.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha members Raut, Gondhalekar, etc., linked to PM Modi, Amit Shah, VHP and RSS

When Amit Degwekar, 38, a resident of the extreme radical Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha’s ashram in Ponda, Goa, was arrested in May this year for the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka Police had found in his possession several envelopes with varying amounts of cash. The money came to over Rs 1.5 lakh, as reported by the Indian Express.

The cash found in the envelopes had been withdrawn from a Sanatan Sanstha bank account and were meant to be given to field workers associated with a secret covert activities unit of the ultra-right wing Hindutva group, allegedly involved in assassinations and subversion in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

A bank pass book of the Sanstha account from where the money was drawn was found in Degwekar’s possession, states an Indian Express report. The promoter and editor of ‘Sanatan Prabhat’, a publication of the Sanstha, Amit Dhagwekar – now one of the main culprits in the Gauri Lankesh murder, was in regular touch with MLA Sudin Dhavilkar of the MGP and other top Goa BJP leaders who supported his fund raising activities.

Also Read: Arrested for possession of explosives, Vaibhav Raut was an active member of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and a vociferous Gau-Rakshak

Dhavalikar refused to disassociate himself from the Sanatan Sanstha in light of the facts revealed in the investigation and demanded that the expose should be proven in a court of law, reports India Today.

The Goa Congress has taken cognizance of INDIA TODAY TV’s agenda-setting expose of Sanatan Sanstha. It has decided to write to the state governor seeking an immediate ban on the Sanatan Sanstha which is headquartered in South Goa’s Ponda district.

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

Speaking exclusively to INDIA TODAY TV, Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar said: “We congratulate INDIA TODAY TV on this big expose. We will be writing to the governor to seek an immediate ban on Sanatan Sanstha which is trying to spread hatred in society. I would also like to tell the Dhavalikar brothers that the time to introspect on their association with such outfits which are involved in terror-like activities has come.”

The Sanstha is being investigated in connection with the murders of journalist Gauri Lankesh and rationalists M.M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Also Read: Ex-Sanatan Sanstha seeker alleges “members hypnotized, made into killing machines and human bombs ready for mass murder or genocide”

All the accused persons are either sympathisers of the Sanatan Sanstha, or have regularly attended their programs or worked and lived at the Sanatan Sanstha ashrams at Ponda and Panvel.

In 2009, two of the sanstha’s alleged sadhaks were killed when a bomb they were trying to plant at Goa’s Margao exploded prematurely.

The attack, aimed at Goa’s pre-Diwali Narakasur festival, was planned to stir communal tensions, prosecutors said. Senior police and anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officers, who probed the Sanatan Sanstha for its alleged role in the Margao blast, told INDIA TODAY TV reporters that their investigation was hampered by ‘political pressure’.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

“There is political pressure. Had there been no political pressure, it would have been banned long back,” said CL Patil, the then station house officer (SHO) in Ponda, where the Sanstha is headquartered.

Around a dozen suspects have been arrested so far in connection with the murder of Gauri Lankesh in September last year. Amit Degvekar is one of them. INDIA TODAY TV accessed copies of his voter ID and bank receipts, which show the Sanatan headquarters in Ponda, Goa as his residential address.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killers

CBI investigators suspect that several sadhaks involved in planning the Margao blast in 2009 — now absconding — are involved in the murders of Lankesh in 2017, Pansare and Kalburgi in 2015 and of Dabholkar in 2013.

Nearly 20 persons associated with other sister organisations of the Sanatan Sanstha like the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti,  or related outfits like the Shiv Pratishthan founded by Sambhaji Bhide have been arrested for terror activities.

with inputs from India Today, Indian Express, PTI & agencies

PICS: Over-speeding Kyle Ticlo, son of Goa BJP MLA Glen Ticlo’s BMW knocks down two sisters in Belagavi, one killed; car set ablaze – See pics

Panaji: A 20-year-old girl was killed and her 18-year-old sister grievously injured after the BMW car being driven by Aldona MLA Glen Ticlo’s son Kyle Ticlo mowed down the two girls in Belagavi on Monday evening.

While Tamreen Khalid Bispi died on the spot, her sister Tehaniyat was said to be battling for life at a local hospital and is in a very serious condition as per media reports.

The incident reportedly occurred at around 6:05 pm yesterday (Monday evening), when the two girls were crossing NH-4 near Gandhi Nagar in Belagavi to go to the fruit market.

Also Read: Goa BJP MLA’s son Kyle Ticlo was driving recklessly and over-speeding, going at over 180 km/hr when BMW spun out of control

Bystanders told media persons that the car was being driven at a very high speed. “The driver was going at a speed far above the permissible limit on that section of the highway. He must have been doing nearly 160 to 180 kms per hour when the accident occurred. It is a clear case of over-speeding, and reckless driving which caused the accident, resulting in the death of one girl and severally injuring her sister,” Hashim Khan, an eyewitness told an IndiaScoops.com stringer who visited the site of the accident about an hour after the accident.

Over-speeding Kyle Ticlo, son of Goa MLA Glen Ticlo's BMW knocks down two sisters in Belagavi (1)

According to reports, Kyle Ticlo, who was allegedly over speeding and driving the car at very high speed at the time of the accident, purportedly lost control of the vehicle and hit the two girls crossing the road.

A PTI report confirmed that the son of Goa Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Glen Ticlo on Monday allegedly ran over an 18-year-old woman and wounded her sister while driving on the NH 4 in Belagavi in Karnataka.

Over-speeding Kyle Ticlo, son of Goa MLA Glen Ticlo's BMW knocks down two sisters in Belagavi (3)

Belagavi Police Commissioner DC Rajappa on Tuesday said 27-year-old Kyle Ticlo was arrested and released on bail.

However, locals allege that the police treated the serious accident with ‘kid gloves’ because Kyle called his MLA father who spoke to the Belagavi Police Commissioner on the phone, requesting his support.

Also Read: Goa MLA Glen Ticlo’s BMW Car Set On Fire After Son Kyle Glen Ticlo Kills a Woman, Injures Another In Accident at Belagavi

The incident triggered violence in the area and several people pelted stones and allegedly tried to set the luxury car on fire. The police said they arrested seven people for the incident.

Eyewitnesses said that an angry mob gathered the spot and damaged the vehicle, breaking its windshield and even tried to set it ablaze.


The enraged crowd also blocked the national highway for around 15 minutes, but the police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the mob, the Times of India reported.

Ticlo confirmed that he owns the car involved in the accident, The Times of India reported. Eyewitnesses told the daily that the driver was speeding and had lost control of the car.

with inputs from PTI & Times of India

NY Times takes up ‘Fishy’ Rafale deal, says Modi’s image as incorruptible destroyed, predicts a “tough one” for Modi in 2019 polls

The article, titled “With ‘Fishy’ Jet Deal, India’s Opposition Finally Lands a Blow on Modi, says that the deal has caused a great deal of damage to Modi’s incorruptible image.

America’s top newspaper The New York Times has called the Rafale deal “fishy” in a recently published article.Stating that the deal has finally given a chance to the main opposition party, the Congress, to land a blow on PM Modi, the newspaper said that for the first time in last four years, the opposition parties have been able to “build a damaging narrative and land a solid punch” on Modi.

“For several years, Indian politics have been dominated by Mr Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, which has grown accustomed to pushing around its rivals,” said the article, published on October 6.It added, “But for the first time in a long time, the opposition, by building a damaging narrative around this arms deal, has landed a solid punch, and is hoping to keep the pressure on Mr Modi and his party ahead of next year’s general election.”

Taking note of accusations being leveled by Congress, the article went on to say, “Congress Party officials have dominated headlines and social media with their accusations that Mr. Modi inflated the price of the aircraft, estimated to cost $8.7 billion, and brought in a trusted ally on the deal so his political party could get something back in return.”

The article, titled “With ‘Fishy’ Jet Deal, India’s Opposition Finally Lands a Blow on Modi, further says that the deal has caused a great deal of damage to Modi’s uncorruptible image. Quoting Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill, the newspaper termed the deal as “fishy.”

Hailing the Rafale deal “a new spring in the step” for the Congress, the newspaper predicted that the Lok Sabha election in 2019 is going to be a tough one for Modi.

Source: National Herald


Video tapes in India Today sting reveal how Sanatan Sanstha workers planted bombs

Acquitted of their alleged role in bomb blasts outside Maharashtra theatres in 2008, two sadhaks of the Goa-based right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha have made startling confessions to India Today TV’s special investigation team  about their involvement in the terror attacks.

Set up by a hypnotherapist, Jayant Athavale, in 1999, the organisation ostensibly identifies “spirituality” as its primary goal.

“…[The] aim of the sanstha is to impart spiritual knowledge to the curious in society, inculcate religious behaviour in the masses and providing personal guidance to seekers for their spiritual uplift,” it declares on its website.

The Sanatan Sanstha, with centres spread across Maharashtra, Goa and elsewhere in India, is, however, no stranger to controversy. Its name figured in the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad’s charge sheet for bomb attacks outside theaters and cinema halls in 2008 — allegedly over ‘objectionable’ depiction of Hinduism in certain films and dramas.

All these years, the Sanstha has vehemently denied the accusations.

But now, India Today TV’s SIT has secured evidence suggesting it might have played a role in the attacks.

Suspect in Vashi attack admits role

Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, who was acquitted by the trial court seven years ago in connection with the 2008 bomb attacks in Thane, Panvel and Vashi, admitted on camera that he did plant the explosives.

Identified as a Sanstha sadhak, or a seeker, in police records, Nikam, 45, admitted that the bomb, which was defused by disposal squads, aimed to avenge what he called was “wrongful depiction of Hindu gods and goddesses” in a Marathi play running at the targeted Vashi theatre.

“I was at Vashi. I planted it [the IED] and came out. That was my role,” he confessed to the undercover reporters who met him at his home in Satara district.

“I had planted that one.” Nikam said referring to the explosive planted in Vashi. “In the [Vashi] case in which we were involved, people were parodying our gods and goddesses [in the play]. So we tried to stop it, nothing else.”

“You yourself were involved in it?” the reporter asked Nigam.

“Yes, I was involved in it,” he said. “We had protested over it [the play] but nothing happened so we tried to scare them away and did it this way.”

Nikam also accepted his association with the Sanatan Sanstha, saying he has been its follower since 2000.

“Yes, I am a seeker,” he said, adding that he was a visitor at the Sanstha’s Panvel ashram.

“I used to visit the Panvel ashram but stayed at home. There, I came in touch with others,” Nikam said.

He confessed that the execution of the attack plan was carried out at the sanstha facility in Panvel, Maharashtra.

Another suspect makes explosive claims

But Nikam is not the only accused from the Sanatan Sanstha to admit to his role in terror plots.

Haribhau Krishnna Divekar, a 58-year-old sanstha follower, revealed that his involvement in the 2008 bomb attacks was much larger than what he had been unsuccessfully prosecuted for.

According to the ATS chargesheet, he was a close aide of one of the two convicts in the case. Divekar, however, was acquitted three years after the attacks on grounds of insufficient evidence.

At his home in Raigad, he confessed to India Today TV’s SIT that he had been in possession of explosives — something that the ATS didn’t record in its chargesheet.

“When I went there, police came here and conducted searches and investigation, I handed them what I had with me,” Divekar said.

“What all did you hand over? What did they recover?” asked the reporter.

“That time, there were one-two revolvers and detonators, it is called detonator right, gelatin [sticks] and digital meters. Around 20 gelatins were there and 23 detonators. They took away all those things,” the acquitted suspect revealed.

“Since when did you have it?” the reporter asked.

“It [the explosives] was there for 5-6 days,” Divekar said.

According to the ATS chargesheet, six suspects — Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari, Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, Vikram Vinay Bhave, Santosh Sitaram Angre, Haribhau Krishna Divekar and Hemant Tukaram Chalke — conspired to “strike terror” through planned bomb attacks between January 2008 and June 2008.

On their target were theatres showing Aamhi Pachpute, a Marathi play, and Bollywood film Jodha Akbar, the prosecution said.

In 2011, the trial court convicted Gadkari and Bhave while acquitting the four other suspects.