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

As Intellectuals Accuse Goa Govt of Protecting ‘Murderers’, award-winning writer Damodar Mauzo says Goa Govt Soft on Sanatan Sanstha

Goa-based Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Damodar Mauzo, who was last week given police protection following death-threats by the alleged killers of Bengaluru-based writer Gauri Lankesh, on Wednesday said the state government has gone soft on the Sanatan Sanstha, headquartered at Ponda in the coastal state, reports news agency IANS.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers

Prominent Goans, social workers, writers and intellectuals from Maharashtra and Goa who spoke to IndiaScoops.com in the past have demanded a complete ban on the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha and a police investigation into its sources of funding as well as the use of funds collected for so-called religious and educational purposes.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

This is after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of writer Gauri Lankesh found that the Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha’s bank accounts were used as  a conduit to pay the killers. Donations were collected by the Sanstha or its members for various religious and educational purposes, which were discreetly channelized to bear the expenses for illegal, extremist activity.

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

Last year at an event called the Hindu Conclave, held in June 2017 at the Sanatan Sanstha in Ponda, several far-right speakers had made vitriolic speeches.

One among them was a godwoman from Madhya Pradesh, Sadhvi Saraswati who openly claimed that Hindus must arm themselves and Hindu men should gift their sisters swords. She also demanded that beef-eaters should be hanged in public, or must leave the country, sparking a outrage in the beef-consuming international tourist destination.

Also Read: Prominent Goans, social workers, writers, intellectuals demand ban on right-wing Sanatan Sanstha

Referring to a spate of murders, Mauzo said, “Why has this happened today? When in 2009 the bomb blast happened, the government went soft on the accused. If the government had remained firm, this would not have come to this pass,” Damodar Mauzo said, speaking to IANS.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

Eight members of the Sanstha were accused of plotting an IED blast in Margao town in South Goa in 2009, but six were acquitted subsequently and two others died while ferrying the bomb towards a crowded Diwali function.

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

The Sanstha has said it did not have a role in the blast.

A Congress-led coalition government was in power when the blast took place.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Mauzo was speaking at a solidarity meeting convened in the state capital to condemn the death-threat to the writer, who won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1983 for his novel ‘Karmelin’.

Praising India’s diversity, Mauzo said that in the name of evicting Rohingyas, the national register of citizens was being used to de-list native Indians.

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

“Do you know what is happening in Assam? In the name of evicting Rohingyas they have prepared a National Register of Citizens. Please go and see whose names are n it. Please understand the agenda behind it and the thought behind it is betrayal of society,” Mauzo said, calling the controversial national register of citizens an “unconstitutional move”, reports IANS.

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

In 2016, then Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said that the Goa government would consult the Maharashtra home department, which was probing the murder of leftist leader Govind Pansare, before deciding on a ban on the Sanstha, reports IANS.

Samir Gaikwad, a member of the Sanstha was arrested in 2016, for Pansare’s murder, even as Rudra Patil, another member of the organisation, also linked to the same crime, is absconding.

 

Controversies surrounding Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

The Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and in the 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

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

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

The Sanathan Sanstha or its members are accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

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

In his petition, Rokade had told the court that the state government had forwarded a proposal to the Centre in 2012 recommending a ban on the organisation, but that the Centre did not act on it.

The Maharashtra government’s proposal was based on Anti-Terrorism Squad reports and inputs.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

“The government of Maharashtra has reached to the conclusion that Sanatan Sanstha organisation is liable to be banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” the government had said in an affidavit filed in connection with the case in 2012.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

With inputs from IANS & The Wire

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

Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo, who has been provided security cover following intelligence inputs about a threat to his life, in an interview to news agency PTI, says right-wing outfits such as the Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha should be banned as they are like “cancer” for the state.

Asserting that he would continue writing and speaking against such outfits, Mauzo said bullet cannot kill a thought. He is not scared of such outfits, he claimed, but demanded that the Government must not tolerate such “killing agencies”.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

The Goa Police recently provided security cover to the 73-year-old Sahitya Akademi award winner following intelligence inputs from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka Police, probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, about a threat to his life.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Mauzo said if action was taken against the Sanatan Sanstha in 2009, when involvement of its activists in a bomb blast in Margao was established, then people like Gauri Lankesh, and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare would not have been killed.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

Two Sanatan Sanstha workers – Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik – had died when the bomb they were ferrying to Margao city in Goa accidentally exploded in November 2009.

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

The National Investigation Agency, which was probing the case, had arrested some people having links to the Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing outfit with its headquarters at Ramnathi village in North Goa district, about 40 km from here.

“I have always been saying that Sanatan Sanstha is a rogue institution. All suspects in the four cases (Lankesh, Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar) belong to this institution, which means that it is a training ground, it is a breeding ground,” Mauzo alleged while talking to PTI.

After the bomb blast at Margao in 2009, the outfit should have been banned. If action was taken at that time, people like Kalburgi, Pansare, Lankesh and Dabholkar would not have died, he said.

“Why do we need such a rogue institution in our peaceful state? I can say bluntly…this is a cancer, which is curable, just remove it and Goa will be free from any fears,” he said, referring to the organisation.

If action is taken against the Sanatan Sanstha, then its sister organisations will also be afraid, he opined.

“For us Goans, peaceful coexistence is so much dear to us and we know its worth. The trust between communities living in Goa has to remain,” he said.

Asked about his ideology, the writer, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel “Karmelin” in 1983, said, “Let others decide what ideology I belong to. I am a humanist and I will always remain a humanist.”

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

Mauzo, who played an important role in the 1967 Opinion Poll, a referendum on whether Goa should merge with neighbouring Maharashtra, said the prevailing situation in the state was concerning.

“It is a worrisome situation. For the first time a writer has been threatened in Goa. All Goans should come together and demand that institutions which are against our harmony be banned,” he said.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

Mauzo said though the Sanatan Sanstha has not committed any crime in Goa so far, he is not sure about the future. Alleging that the outfit is a “breeding ground for murderers”, he said action should be taken against it immediately.

This is the time that the government should prove it is working in the interest of Goa and Goans. “Bullet is not an answer, no bullet can kill a thought,” he said.

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

Asked why he is on the radar of right-wing outfits, Mauzo, who has written several novels and is also a regular contributor to newspaper columns, said he had closely worked with Kalburgi on ‘Vachana’ literature (about sacred texts) for nearly two years.

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

“But I am not on the radar because of Kalburgi. I am on their radar because I am outspoken and I had pointedly mentioned about the Sanatan Sanstha during the Guwahati Literary Festival (last year) in the presence of the Assam chief minister and also Union minister Prakash Javadekar,” he said.

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

Mauzo said at the festival, he had expressed apprehensions about multi-culturalism “which is being thrust upon by perpetrators of mono-cultaralism”. “I have been vocal about such things.”

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

He said he had also delivered a hard-hitting speech at a writers’ forum in New Delhi, which might have disturbed some people.

“When I spoke against the Sanatan Sanstha, they felt pinched and somebody somewhere felt that I should be eliminated,” he claimed.

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

Mauzo, however, said he would continue writing and speaking against them.

“If I stop writing or going out fearing the threat, that means they have succeeded. When the police gave me protection,I said give me protection but my freedom should not suffer, there should not be any curbs,” he added.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

Mauzo is the co-founder and co-curator of the Goa Art and Literary Festival, an annual event that started here in 2010.

According to the SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder two  ‘hitlists’ were found in the possession of Amol Kale (36), who was arrested in May. Lankesh’s name was second on a list that  had a total of eight names. Theatre legend Girish Karnad’s name topped the list.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The other list included 26 targets. Amol Kale, in whose possession the diary was found, is a resident of Pune and a former convenor of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti or HJS, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

He has been associated with the Sanatan Sanstha for a long time.

Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

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

The Sanathan Sanstha had also been accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Source: PTI

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

Journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh’s name was on an apparent ‘hitlist’ that had the names of 33 other people, including theatre personality Girish Karnad, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka police has revealed.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

According to an Indian Express report, two such ‘hitlists’ were found in the possession of Amol Kale (36), who was arrested in May. Lankesh’s name was second on a list that  had a total of eight names. Theatre legend Girish Karnad’s name topped the list. The other list included 26 targets.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

The SIT believes the lists were drawn up in July 2016. Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence on September 5, 2017.

The SIT has arrested two more suspects in relation to the killing, taking the total numbers of suspects arrested in the case, to nine.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

A Mangalore-based state government employee working for the education department was recently arrested for training the killers how to fire a gun, according to the Indian Express.

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

All the suspects are linked to extremist Hindu groups such as Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and were active members of both the groups.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

Amol Kale, in whose possession the diary was found, is a resident of Pune and a former convenor of the HJS.

The SIT said that Lankesh and others on the lists were chosen as targets because of their opposition towards radical Hindutva and superstitious practices.

All the people mentioned in the hit list have been provided state security.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

“These lists were some kind of tentative collection of names compiled at the end of discussions by a small group of people. They seem to be random lists which would undergo changes. Though Lankesh was named at no. 2, she was targeted first,’’ reported the Indian Express, quoting a police source, because she was apparently a soft and easy target.

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

Mysuru-based writer and academic K.S. Bhagwan, Kannada writers Yogesh Master, Chandrashekhar Patil and Banajagere Jayaprakash and former Karnataka backward castes commission chairman C.S. Dwarkanath were also listed as targets of the group.

Nidumamidi Swamiji, a seer opposed to superstition, was also a target.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The police have also provided security to literary figures Patil Putappa, Nataraj Huliyar, Baragur Ramachandrappa and Chennaveera Kanavi. Rationalist Narendra Nayak and S.M. Jamdar, the former IAS officer and proponent of separate religion status for the Lingayat community, were also provided state security.

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

Other documents found in Kale and associate Sujeet Kumar’s possession reveal a network of at least 30 people engaged in planning and execution of killings of those opposed to Hindutva.

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

Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

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

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

The Sanathan Sanstha had also been accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

In his petition, Rokade had told the court that the state government had forwarded a proposal to the Centre in 2012 recommending a ban on the organisation, but that the Centre did not act on it.

The Maharashtra government’s proposal was based on Anti-Terrorism Squad reports and inputs.

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

“The government of Maharashtra has reached to the conclusion that Sanatan Sanstha organisation is liable to be banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” the government had said in an affidavit filed in connection with the case in 2012.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

Source: The Wire

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

Alleged mastermind of group involved in Gauri murder took a house on rent in Belagavi; other accused met him there, reports Bangalore Mirror.

According to a report in the Bangalore Mirror, the ongoing SIT probe in Gauri Lankesh murder case has revealed that Amol Kale, the alleged mastermind of the group that killed her, was active in Karnataka since 2013. Kale was residing in the garb of a social worker at a modest rented room in Khade Bazar in Belagavi.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The Bangalore Mirror report claims that “Kale had been focusing on Karnataka much before the Gauri Lankesh’s murder. The investigation agency suspects that he was working for a Goa-based organisation Sanathan Sanstha that acted as a sort of nodal agency for this underground group of radicals,” sources added.

Kale was initially arrested from Belagavi in the last week of May and his Pune residence was subsequently raided by the SIT in an attempt to locate the firearm used to murder the writer and activist.

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

“It is a modest one-room kitchen set up in Khade Bazar. It is inside a maze of streets and Kale had taken it on rent more than four years back. He used to stay there and once in a while go to Pune and Goa,” said SIT officials.

The SIT officials have identified owner of the house who rented it to Kale and has recorded his statement. It has also been pointed out that all six accused so far arrested in the case, including KT Naveen Kumar, had visited Kale at Khade Bazar, reports Bangalore Mirror.

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

Kale was reportedly in touch with multiple recruiters working for the outfit, who were identifying ‘like-minded’ youths at various spiritual and religious events to be roped into the outfit. Suchith Kumar alias Praveen, another accused arrested in the Gauri Lankesh case, was one such recruiter and Manohar Edave is also suspected to have been part of this group that arranged logistics for their operation, says the Bangalore Mirror report.

“We are collecting more details from some of the documents and diaries recovered from Kale,” sources added.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The proximity of Belagavi from Ponda in Goa is being ascribed as one of the main reasons for the group to choose Belagavi as Kale’s base. Amit Degvekar, another suspect arrested in the case, was an inmate of this Goa-based ashram and used to often visit Kale in Belagavi claims Bangalore Mirror.

Degwekar was also questioned in connection with 2009 Margao blasts and was also a roommate of Malgonda Patil. Patil died when a bomb accidentally exploded while being it was being transported on a scooter.

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

“Belagavi also has a strong presence of fringe outfits like Sri Ram Sene. More details could be revealed only after we finish the probe. It seems some splinter right wing groups collaborated in murdering Gauri,” sources added.

As of now, the SIT has arrested six persons- Amol Kale, Amit Degwekar , Suchith Kumar , Manohar Edave, Parashuram Waghmare and KT Naveen Kumar for the Gauri Lankesh murder.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Parashuram Waghmare, a 26-year-old from Vijayapura allegedly associated with Sri Ramsene is suspected to have been the shooter, who arrived with another accomplice outside Gauri Lankesh’s residence in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar and shot her dead on September 5, 2017.

According to an Indian Express report, the Hindutva extremist K T Naveen Kumar arrested in connection with the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh attended at least five different meetings of the Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), last year in Bengaluru and Maddur in Karnataka, and Ponda in Goa, investigations have found.

Source: Bangalore Mirror / Indian Express

Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

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, reports 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, the SIT has surmised, following investigations after the arrest of Degwekar and four others for direct involvement in Lankesh’s murder.

A bank pass book of the Sanstha account from where the money was drawn was found in Degwekar’s possession, it is learnt, says an Indian Express report.

Gauri Lankesh murder: Shooter kept in house rented by man linked to Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

A promoter and editor of ‘Sanatan Prabhat’, a publication of the Sanstha, Degwekar, who worked ostensibly under supervision of a senior member of the Hindutva outfit, has been identified by SIT as a channel for funds to a covert activities group headed by Amol Kale, 37, a Pune resident and former convenor of Sanstha-affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS).

The probe has so far found that besides serving as a direct link for the covert group to the Sanatan Sanstha, Degwekar was also closely associated with Kale in plotting Lankesh’s murder. They ostensibly travelled together on one occasion to study her daily movements in the lead-up to the murder on the evening of September 5, 2017. Lankesh had at the time just returned from work to her home in Bengaluru.

Degwekar was arrested along with Kale and Manohar Edave, 29, a Karnataka resident, from Davangere in southern Karnataka in May this year. The SIT arrested them on the basis of information from a former HJS activist identified as Sujeet Kumar, 38.

The SIT had arrested Sujeet for allegedly playing a central role in organising logistics for the murder.

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

A resident at Sanatan Sanstha’s ashram for several years, Degwekar, according to investigators, was a roommate of Malgonda Patil, one of the two Sanstha men killed in October 2009 in a blast in Madgaon, Goa.

He was at the time allegedly ferrying an IED bomb to plant it at a Diwali celebration that was opposed by the Sanstha for apparently bein, g against Hindu belief.

The SIT says Degwekar is currently the only direct link between the Lankesh assassination plot and the Sanstha, although several others arrested have had strong links to the Sanstha in the past, or have been associated with the outfit through splinter radical Hindutva groups such as the Hindu Yuva Sena or Sri Rama Sena.

According to sources in SIT, the envelopes carrying cash found with Degwekar were meant to be given to field workers co-opted into the radical unit — such as the main shooter Parashuram Waghmare, 26, who was recruited from Sri Rama Sena in Vijayapura to shoot Lankesh; and K T Naveen Kumar, 37, recruited from Hindu Yuva Sena in Maddur to allegedly provide logistics for the murder, reports the Indian Express.

Also Read: Plot to kill Gauri Lankesh was hatched at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

In the course of his interrogation, Degwekar has reportedly claimed that cash found on him were payments made by subscribers of Sanatan Sanstha’s publications, which he claimed to promote by travelling around the country.

“My brother has been wrongly arrested. He is a member of Sanatan Sanstha for a decade now. He lives and works at the Sanatan Sanstha ashram in Goa,” Degwekar’s brother Viraj had said after his arrest in May.

Sanstha spokesperson Chethan Rajhans has stated: “Amit Degwekar promoted ‘Sanatan Prabhat’ – he used to come to the ashram for that work. The Sanstha is involved in spiritual enhancement of Hindus. We are not killers.”

Since identifying Parashuram Waghmare as the man who pulled the trigger on Lankesh and arresting him on June 11, the SIT has found that he was paid around Rs 13,000 to cover expenses after the murder. The assassin was also given a similar amounts by Kale after he was recruited two years ago and trained in 2017 in firing guns, sources said.

The probe has found that the men in charge of the covert activities group like Kale went to great lengths to ensure that operatives at the lower levels like Waghmare and Naveen Kumar had access to only a minimum amount of information about the assassination plots they were roped into.

On two occasions he came to Bengaluru — in July 2017 for a recce and in September 2017 for the murder — Waghmare was apparently taken blindfolded to hideouts.

Source: Indian Express

Gauri Lankesh murder: Main shooter kept in house rented by man linked to Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Investigations into the shooting of journalist Gauri Lankesh, 55, outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017, has thrown up more indications of links to the Goa, Ponda-based radical Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), following the arrest of six suspects in recent days, reports the Indian Express.

A Karnataka Police SIT, which is probing the case, has found that the alleged shooter, Parshuram Waghmare, 26, was called to Bengaluru in July 2017 and housed in a remote home on the outskirts of Bengaluru by a key planner of the murder, Amol Kale, 37, a Pune resident, and former HJS convenor.

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

The house where Waghmare was kept was rented by a man Amit Degwekar associated with the Sanatan Sanstha and let out for a few days to “friends’’ who have emerged as the main suspects in the murder plot, the SIT has found.

The house, 20 km from Lankesh’s home, was used in July 2017 as a base by Waghmare and Kale — who are among six persons linked to Sanatan Sanstha and HJS who have been arrested for the murder — to survey the journalist’s home and prepare plans to kill her, the SIT has found.

The house was originally rented by building contractor Suresh Kumar for his family – wife and two children — around June 2017, but for around 10 days in July 2017 “the inhabitants of the house went away and the suspects lived there”, SIT sources told Indian Express.

The SIT stumbled upon the house after finding entries for locations, identities and contact numbers in diaries belonging to two arrested suspects —- Kale and Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen, 38, a former HJS activist from Karnataka – after their arrest in May. The SIT has found that the contractor let out his home on “terms of friendship” after he was requested to do so by Sujeet.

The SIT confronted Suresh and he confessed to letting out his rented home to friends while his family was away for 10 days, but stated that he was not directly involved in the murder plot.

“Police came a few days ago and took Suresh away. The police asked us if we had seen any strangers living in the house but we had not seen anybody. They are a very decent family. I cannot believe they could be involved in any crime,’’ said Jagadish, an autodriver who lives next door.

Also Read: Plot to kill Gauri Lankesh was hatched at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

“We did not expect trouble because they were a family,’’ said the sister of the landlord, who lives next door and collects rent from the tenants of the building.

Suresh has now gone incommunicado. “They said they were going for a wedding,’’ the neighbour Jagadish said.

Suresh has provided a voluntary statement before a magistrate’s court stating that he provided shelter at his home for the suspects for several days after he was requested to do so by his friend Sujeet.

“We are treating him as a witness, and will review the situation if evidence emerges regarding his involvement in the murder plot,’’ an SIT official said, indicating that Suresh was acquainted with Sujeet through their association with Sanatan Sanstha.

Suresh is closely associated with Sanatan Sanstha and HJS along with many family members, including one family member who is a full time activist, police and SIT sources said.

“The suspect (Waghmare) was called to Bengaluru by other suspects and housed at a remote location by other suspects and together they watched the daily routine of the victim Gauri Lankesh and carried out recces on 3-4 occasions,’’ the SIT said in a remand application filed for the custody of Waghmare after his arrest on June 12.

The suspects are believed to have used two separate places as shelters in the planning phase and execution phase of the murder of Lankesh. After the house at Seegehalli Gate on Magadi Road was chosen for the planning phase, Kale and Waghmare traveled regularly to the location of Lankesh’s home by using routes not tracked by police cameras.

The suspects used at least one other shelter for the execution of the crime, SIT sources told Indian Express.

The Sanatan Sanstha has denied involvement in the Lankesh killing, claiming it had no idea what its members were up to.

Source: Indian Express

Sanatan Sanstha Activist Accused in Lankesh Murder Chargesheet; SIT Finds Clues in Another Murder Bid

Bengaluru: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh filed its first charge sheet in the sensational case that rocked the state last year.

In a separate case, investigators sought the custody of four of the suspects arrested by Bengaluru Police for plotting to kill Mysore-based Professor Bhagwan in a similar fashion.

Also Read: Sri Ram Sene Activist Suspected to be Gauri Lankesh’s Shooter Arrested From Karnataka’s Sindagi

Two of them, including Sujeet Kumar alias Praveen who was named by KT Naveen, the key accused in the Lankesh case, hail from Karnataka. While Sujeet comes from Shimoga, Manohar Edave hails from Vijayapura in north Karnataka, the district that has been the hub of a lot of illegal weapons trade in recent times.

However, it is the other two persons that the SIT has laid its sights on regarding the Lankesh murder – Amit Degwekar, a Hindutva activist from Goa and Amol Kale, another Hindutva activist based in Pune.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: Main shooter Parshuram Wagmare – a Sri Ram Sene member arrested by SIT

Amit has a direct link with Sanatan Sanstha as he has been living at the Sanstha’s ashram in Ponda, Goa, for nearly ten years.

He has been living at the ashram since the 2009 Madgaon blast where one of his former roommates lost his life while allegedly trying to plant a bomb. He was detained but no chargesheet was filed at the end.

Amol Kale, an activist of the Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti, is said to have been a key operative of the Sanstha and affiliated groups.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: Knew of murder plot 15 days in advance, says first accused Naveen Kumar

The over 600 page charge sheet submitted by the SIT in a Bengaluru trial court implicates Naveen of having disappeared around the murder of Lankesh. It states that when his friends asked him about his whereabouts, he had even boasted about how he was busy with the Lankesh matter.

The chargesheet has the statements of 131 people who have either aided the police with some information or have been witnesses to certain acts like the reconnaissance measures by culprits in the Lankesh case.

The SIT observes that anyone involved in the plot to kill Prof Bhagwan could possibly have had a role in Lankesh’s murder as well.

Wednesday’s chargesheet directly charges Naveen with murder, criminal conspiracy, abetment and concealing the design or plot to commit the offence.

Also Read: Plot to kill Gauri Lankesh first took root at Ponda, Goa-based Hindu Extremist Outfit Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave

It also talks of how attempts were made to change the number plates on the motorbike used by the biker who killed Lankesh.

Questions have also been raised about the legal team defending Naveen Kumar. The chargesheet states that lawyers who had earlier represented Sanathan Sanstha activists in Maharashtra had come to Bengaluru to represent Naveen at a few hearings.

Interestingly, though Naveen had initially agreed to undergo forensic tests such polygraph, brain-mapping and narco-analysis, he refused to give consent when he was taken to the Gujarat laboratory for the tests.

With his backing out, the SIT is now only relying on the leads that he gave during his interrogation in March. Naveen is currently in judicial custody and thus cannot be questioned. Investigators have informed the court several times that he refused to cooperate with them.

None of the arrested persons, however, seem to have any role other than that of organisation and logistics.

The two main culprits — the sharpshooter who pulled the trigger and the one who was driving the bike on September 5, 2017 to kill Lankesh — are still absconding. Police say, there could be other culprits too, which is why they are keen on questioning the four arrested in the Prof Bhagwan case.

Though the Lankesh SIT is not investigating the alleged plot to kill Prof Bhagwan, investigators believer similarities in the two cases are striking and there could be several links, including some about those involved in both the two plots.

Similarly, since the bullets that killed Lankesh matched with those that killed Prof Kalburgi in Dharwad three years back, they feel certain headway can be made by chasing the trail of the plot to murder Prof Bhagwan.

The SIT states in its charge sheet that the plot to kill Lankesh was hatched over at a period of at least seven to eight months.

Source: CNN News 18