Sanatan Sanstha member’s Palghar home raided, 8 live bombs, detonators, other explosives recovered

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The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) recovered at least eight country-made bombs and about 5 unfinished or partially made bombs, fuses, detonators along with other explosives and fuses and other literature from the residence of a Sanatan Sanstha member while conducting raids at his residence in Palghar.

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

An ATS team under the supervision of a senior IPS-rank officer raided the home of Vaibhav Raut in the wee hours of Friday and searches continued till early morning.

Raut, who has been taken into custody for questioning, is likely to be placed under arrest and produced before a local court, sources said.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

The explosives have been handed over to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its nature.

The police are also investigation the source of the explosives. Initial investigations show that Raut obtained the gun powder from mining and quarrying companies in Maharashtra and Goa.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“We want to know source of these explosives and how Raut intended to use them and therefore his custodial interrogation is necessary,” said an official requesting anonymity.

It seems that Raut was a professional and was into the activity for at least a year. He was involved with a few far-right extremist Hindutva organisations and was also involved in harassing meat traders in Maharashtra, by intercepting vehicles transporting meat or cattle.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

While the right-wing terror outfit denied Raut being an active member, Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punelikar told the media that Raut was acquainted to one of its members.

“Raut had been externed by the Palghar police in connection with a beef ban case. While he is a Hindutva worker, he isn’t our member.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs and explosives were seized was actively involved with Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

The Sanatan Sanstha claimed Raut was part of another Hindutva organisation, while the police claim that he was associated with at least one dozen far-right hardline Hindutva organisations in the country.

More facts will come to light as police interrogate the accused after obtaining remand. Sources claim that Raut was also linked to the group involved in the murder of writer and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

“However I doubt the ATS claim of he hoarding explosives,” he said. Punelikar added that the outfit Sanatan Sanstha will provide Raut legal aid.

Sanatan Sanstha officials said Raut is being framed by the police because he was an active gau-rakshak.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Persons owing allegiance to Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested in four bombings in Vashi, Thane, Panvel (all in 2007) and Goa (in 2009) and in the murders rationalists – Narendra Dabholkar (in 2013), Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi (both in 2015) and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Also Read: SIT claims Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the Main Agency to carry out Killings

Both the Maharashtra police and the Central Bureau of Investigation probing the cases have questioned the outfit’s founder Jayant Balaji Athavale in the past.

Calling the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha an “extra-constitutional authority” and a “cancer” whose spread should be stopped, prominent activists from Goa have demanded a ban on it.

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

Stressing on the need for such a move, Prashant Naik, a social activist, told PTI that legal luminaries should be roped in by the state government to place before the court the need for a ban.

“We lost an ‘open-and-shut’ 2009 Margao blast case due to poor legal support during the trial,” he pointed out.

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

Two men, including one allegedly from the Sanatan Sanstha, died in 2009 while they were transporting explosives to be reportedly planted in a crowded area in Margao.

with inputs from Indian Express

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