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

Gauri Lankesh murder: Accused Parashuram Waghmare claims Karnataka SIT offered him Rs 25 lakh to confess to killing

Two accused arrested for the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder last year have alleged that they were being coerced by the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) to confess to the crime.

While one suspect claimed that the Karnataka police offered him Rs 25 lakh to confess that he committed the crime, another alleged that his family was threatened.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) offered us Rs. 25 lakh to accept the crime,” Parashuram Waghmare said, according to a report by NDTV. Waghmare was being taken to court when he made the claim.

Another accused, Manohar Edave, also denied any involvement in the murder of the journalist at her Bengaluru home last year. said, “They threatened to implicate my family and friends unless I confessed to the murder,” he said.

When asked by the two suspects’ claims, an SIT officer refused to comment.

Left-leaning Lankesh, who was regularly wrote against Hindutva in her weekly Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead on September 5 last year by two motorcycle-borne assailants near her house here, triggering outrage.

14 suspects have been arrested in the case.

Right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha, which has its headquarters at Ramnathi in south Goa, is currently under the scanner for involvement of its members in the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.

Probe agencies suspect that the same group of right-wing activists is behind the killings of rationalists Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Lankesh. However, the probe agencies in Maharashtra and Karnataka, including the CBI, have not been able to establish the group’s link with the killing of rationalist and communist leader Pansare.

While Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune in August 2013, Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20. Lankesh was killed at her house in Bengaluru in September last year while Kalburgi was shot dead at the entrance of his house in Karnataka’s Dharwad district on August 30, 2015.

The organisation has alleged that an ATS officer in Goa was trying to “pressurise” its office-bearers for providing information in connection with ongoing investigation into various cases.

A senior functionary of the right wing organisation on Thursday filed a complaint against the officer with the Goa ATS chief Karthik Kashyap.

Sanstha spokesman Chetan Rajhans claimed that the officer spoke in a “threatening manner” over phone with Virendra Marathe, the managing trustee of Sanstha, recently.

Kashyap didn’t respond to phone calls for comments.

Ex-Shiv Sena corporator Shrikant Pangarkar assembled bombs, funded purchase of explosives and boasted of ‘explosions’ in Mah to MoS Arjun Khotkar

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday arrested a former Shiv Sena corporator, Shrikant Pangarkar, as part of its investigation into the plot to carry out attacks in five cities of Maharashtra by radical Hindu groups.

Also Read:  With nearly 16-18 bomb blasts across the State, Sharad Kalaskar’s group plotted to rain terror and chaos in Maharashtra during Eid and Ganpati festivals

Three persons Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar were earlier arrested earlier in the case, but Pangarkar’s is the first political arrest.

The others were linked to far-right organisations Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and were associated with other hardliners across the country.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

Sources said during interrogation, the other accused claimed that Pangarkar had helped assemble the explosives and store them, reports The Indian Express.

ATS sources told IndiaScoops.com that Pangarkar wanted to set off explosions in 12 to 14 places in Maharashtra and shake up the government machinery.

Also Read: Dabholkar, Pansare, Kulbargi and Lakesh murders inter-linked: Same group of killers involved in murders

The aim of this group was to create a fear psychosis in the minds of the people, creating fear among Hindus and pointing the finger of suspicion towards the minority community, an officer told IndiaScoops.com.

While the Shiv Sena said it didn’t have any links with Pangarkar now, senior leader and Minister of State Arjun Khotkar admitted several party leaders were in touch with him, and that he had talked about his Sanatan Sanstha links and even “explosion” plans, reports the Indian Express.

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

Twenty-two crude bombs and 21 country-made weapons have so far been recovered from the accused in the case, who were allegedly planning to carry out attacks in Mumbai, Solapur, Satara, Pune and Nalasopara.

Pangarkar was a corporator in Jalna Municipal Council for two terms, from December 2001 to December 2011.

The Shiv Sena said he had not been with the party for many years and was not an office-bearer.

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

“He had not been in touch with the Sena for almost eight years,” said Khotkar, MoS, Textiles, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development and a senior Sena leader from Jalna.

Party sources said Pangarkar had rebelled after being denied a Sena ticket in 2011.

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

However, Khotkar admitted meeting him “twice or thrice in the past few years”, and hinted that Pangarkar had links with the controversial radical Hindu outfit, Sanatan Sanstha, and had even dropped hints of carrying out some blasts in the State, reports the Indian Express.

“During our conversation, when I asked him what he was doing, he said he was working for the Sanatan Sanstha in Assam, Goa and a few other states and was addressing big gatherings and holding workshops,” said Khotkar.

“Around 10 days ago, he had met Bhaskar Ambekar, the Mumbai chief of the Sena. Later, Ambekar told me about the conversation, in which Pangakar said to watch out for something big in the future and talked about explosions. But Pangarkar didn’t say anything specifically about where and how. Also, we don’t know whether he was speaking the truth. Police may be able to ascertain that.”

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

Ambekar’s phone remained switched off and he was unavailable for comment.

The other three arrested by the ATS in the case are Vaibhav Raut (40), an alleged member of the Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti, who is also said to be a sympathiser of the Sanatan Sanstha, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar (39), who hails from Satara and is a member of the Shri Shivapratishthan Hindustan, and Sharad Kalaskar (25), who was arrested along with Raut from Raut’s Nalasopara residence.

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

Sanatan Sanstha activists are believed to have links with the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Pangarkar’s name first cropped up during the questioning of Kalaskar, and he was called to join the investigation on Saturday. “He is being probed in connection with the explosives recovered. We suspect he was aware of the conspiracy of the blasts and also the previous killings executed by the group. We are questioning him on the same,” a senior ATS official said.

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

Sources in the CBI, which is investigating the Dabholkar killing, said, “So far Pangarkar’s name hasn’t emerged in the case and therefore we haven’t summoned him.”

with inputs from The Indian Express

Mastermind of the Gauri Lankesh, MM Kalburgi murders could be hiding in Mumbai: SIT

For the last 5-6 years, a clandestine unnamed group of radical Hindutva elements has recruited around 60 men for the purpose of making bombs, assembling weapons and creating communal unrest and assasinations in Karnataka and Maharashtra, reports The News Minute (TNM).

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing Gauri Lankesh’s murder has uncovered this information after questioning one of the prime suspects Amol Kale arrested for the murder of Gauri Lankesh, says a TNM report.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh Murder Accused Ganesh Miskin Confesses To Killing Kalburgi

Kale was associated with the Sanatan Sanstha and other far-right Hindu organisations including the Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti an offshoot of the Sanstha.

On Sunday, a team of SIT sleuths took off for Mumbai to look for the alleged mastermind – the man they believe conceptualized the establishment of an organised, covert, radical Hindutva group, which includes planners, executors and logistics-handlers for a series of murders of rationalists and progressive writers across the country.

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

“We believe that the mastermind of Gauri Lankesh murder, Nihal alias Dada, may be in Mumbai. There is also suspicion that he may be a government servant. Nihal is also an alias, his real name may be different and the SIT is trying to track him down. He is the one who can lead us to the murder weapon,” a source told TNM.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

When the SIT arrested accused Amol Kale earlier this year, the investigators learnt that among the people he had recruited were the same men arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Mumbai’s Nalasopara.

It was the information that SIT passed on to ATS, which was used to raid the hideouts of several members of Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti (HJS).

Also Read: Hardliners trying to hoodwink cops, claim bombs were for Maratha agitation

The ATS seized a cache of materials and explosives used to make bombs and a huge lot of weapons and ammunition.

SIT sources revealed that of the 60 members recruited by Amol Kale and Nihal, 22 of them were from Karnataka who were being trained in the use of guns to kill rationalists and anti-Hindu voices, reports

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

“Gauri’s killer was one of these 22 men,” the SIT source said. Investigations have revealed that these youth were also trained in creating communal hatred and also blowing up IEDs.

Details of their training were revealed after the arrest of the 12th accused in the case, Bharat Khurne (37), in Belagavi on August 9. Khurne who owned two licensed weapons allegedly trained these men at his vegetable farm in Khanapur.

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

Sources revealed that the group also carried out clandestine activities including recruiting and training men belonging to radical Hindutva outfits. These covert operations were centred around Maharashtra and Goa.

Three of the 12 persons arrested by the SIT in connection with Gauri Lankesh’s murder; Parashuram Waghmore, Ganesh Miskin and Amit Baddi, have a history of inciting communal violence and were allegedly trained by Khurne in firing guns.

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

“Keeping the operations secret was the main objective of our group. A new recruit would never be given phone numbers of any person in the group. Telephonic conversations took place over public phones. Only when the new recruit was initiated into the group and the members were sure of trusting him, one cellphone was given to the recruit. He had to use it to contact his point person and use his code name only and not his real name. This was done to ensure that other members did not know his identity. Everyone maintained that level of secrecy,” Sujeet Kumar’s statement to the SIT says.

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

Upon Sujeet Kumar’s arrest in May, the SIT had searched his house in Udupi and found 22 cellphones, which the SIT believes were given to the group’s men.

SIT sources also revealed that they suspect a connection between the killers of rationalist Govind Pansare in Maharashtra and the HJS activists arrested in Mumbai on Friday last week.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha wants to set up a Saffron Army of 2000 trained killers and shooters for terrorist activity

“Exactly a year after the suspect in Govind Pansare’s case, Sameer Gaikwad, was released on bail, Gauri Lankesh was killed. The forensic evidence states that rationalist MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh were killed by the same weapon. CID’s investigation had also revealed that there was a possible connection between the Kalburgi and Pansare murders. It is an angle the SIT is looking into,” the source said.

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

The Maharashtra CID today officially confirmed that the same set of killers involved in the Gauri Lankesh murder were also involved in the murder of scholar and rationalist M M Kalburgi.

“Yes, we have got certain leads provided to us by the Special Investigation Team. It will be premature to share the details. We cannot even say how many are involved.  All we can say at this juncture is that the leads are very credible,” IGP, Maharashtra CID, K S R Charan Reddy told news agency PTI.

Accused in Gauri Lankesh Murder, Ganesh Miskin Confesses Involvement in Kalburgi Murder

New Delhi: Confirming speculation that the same group of people were behind the assassinations of rationalists and anti-Hindutva writers, one of the suspects arrested in the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh has confessed to the SIT that he was also involved in the murder of professor M.M. Kalburgi, claims a report in The Wire.

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

According to a Bangalore Mirror report, Ganesh Miskin, who was arrested for ferrying suspected Lankesh shooter Parashuram Waghmare to her home, confessed he was one of the people who arrived at Kalburgi’s home and knocked on the door to shoot him dead.

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

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) is probing Lankesh’s murder, while the CID is investigating the killing of Kalburgi.

The SIT had already established that the same gun was used for both the assassinations.

Kalburgi was shot dead at his residence on August 30, 2015, while Lankesh was also killed at her doorstep on September 5, 2017, reports The Wire.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

According to Bangalore Mirror, the SIT probe has found that the mastermind behind Lankesh’s killing, Amol Kale, was also one of the key players in the killing of Kalburgi.

Earlier this week, a formal report was forwarded by the SIT to the CID on the link between the two murders and also the statements of Miskin and three others.

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

While Miskin has confessed to his presence at the Kalburgi crime scene, he claimed he was not the shooter.

A report in The Hindu quoted CID officials as saying, “Statements by any suspects before the police were of little value and they had to be corroborated with material and technical evidence to be able to pin them down.”

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

Of the 12 suspects arrested in the Lankesh killing, several belong to extremist groups Hindu Janajagruti Samithi (HJS) or Sanatan Sanstha.

Members of these two organisations have also been accused in the murders of communist Govind Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, in addition to Lankesh and Kalburgi. Miskin’s confession seems to have further corroborated these links.

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

According to a report in The News Minute, Miskin told investigators that mastermind Kale and Amit Degwekar, the latter of whom was living in a HJS ashram in Goa, were also involved in murders which were carried out in Maharashtra.

Probing these links, the SIT is expected to soon arrest three more members in Maharashtra.

150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested Sanatan Sanstha, HJS activists Raut and Gondhalekar 

The arrested hardliners Vaibhav Raut and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar were looking to procure about 150 pistols, 100 bombs and over 3000 bullets of different caliber for use in the coming 6-8 months, police sources revealed today.

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

Vaibhav Raut a violent gau rakshak was the co-founder of a cow protection group, Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti set up in 2014.

The group is allegedly associated with Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Shiv Prathisthan and the Sanatan Sanstha, all of which are radical far-right Hindutva organizations.

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

Local Congress politicians and meat traders in Palghar from where Raut was arrested have termed him an extortionist who would extort money from meat transporters and fund his illegal arms manufacturing activity.

Investigations have revealed that while Raut put up a facade of being a devout Hindu and a cow protector among his local Bhandari community, he was involved in gun-running, smuggling of explosives and arms from parts of North India and money laundering using hawala.

He was part of an inter-state network of radical Hindutva agents whose aim was to create chaos and riots in the country.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha wants to set up a Saffron Army of 2000 trained killers and shooters for terrorist activity

The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) found a mini arms-making unit or factory and is now probing their links in Uttar Pradesh and Assam, official sources said on Monday.

The arrested persons were in the process of procuring machines and lathes to make country-made pistols and also fabricate bullets. They had obtained training from illegal arms manufacturing units in UP and Bihar, ATS sources revelaed. Imported arms were procured from Assam.

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

On Friday, last week, the ATS created a sensation by claiming to have unearthed a terror plot targeting Mumbai, Pune, Satara and Solapur ahead of Independence Day celebrations and the upcoming Bakri Eid festival.

In the ATS swoop, three right-wing activists were arrested – Vaibhav Raut, 40, Sharad Kalaskar, 25, both from Nala Sopara in Palghar, and Sudhanav Gondhalekar, 39, from Pune.

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

Over a dozen other associates or suspects have been interrogated to ascertain their connections in other parts of the state or outside and certain email exchanges between the accused with references to Uttar Pradesh and Assam shall be probed.

Continuing the raids and probe over the weekend in Palghar, around 60 km north of Mumbai, the ATS has found a mini arms production unit and seized at least five country-made pistols, three incomplete pistols, 11 cartridges of 9 mm pistols and 30 cartridges of 7.65 mm pistols, springs, triggers and other material, reports news agency IANS.

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

However, another media report claims over 11 pistols and 5 unfinished pistols were seized. At least a dozen fake motorcycle and four wheeler number plates were seized from the accused.

In the Pune raids, the ATS seized a laptop, six hard disks, five pendrives, nine mobiles and many SIM cards, a WiFI dongle, scores of documents and papers, besides a car and a motorcycle.

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

During the raids in Palghar on Friday, the ATS seized 20 crude bombs and material and explosives that could be used to make at least two-to-four dozen or 50 more bombs.

The seizures included 22 non-electronic detonators, 1,500 gm of explosive powder, wire bundles, resistors, transistors, 10 batteries of six volts each and a connector, multi-meters, switches and circuits, connectors, gelatin sticks, two bottles marked as ‘poison’, diagrams and literature, all of which have been sent for forensic analysis.

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

While Raut is described as a prominent ‘gau-rakshak’ and linked with Hindu Janjagran Samiti, Gondhalekar is connected with the Shri Shivpratisthan, spearheaded by the controversial 85-year-old Sambhaji Bhide alias Bhide Guruji, which has patronage of the PM Narendra Modi. Modi has openly admired Bhide and called him his guru or mentor.

with inputs from IANS and Indian Express

About 35-40 bombs could be manufactured from the explosives recovered from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut’s Palghar house

ATS and police sources revealed that over two dozen bombs or nearly 35  to 40 small explosive devices – enough to create a small blast and widespread terror – could be manufactured from the total quantity of gun powder, other explosives and detonators seized by the Maharashtra ATS from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut’s house and office at Palghar on Friday morning.

Also Read: Besides Sanatan Sanstha & HJS member Vaibhav Raut, two more persons arrested by Maha ATS

According to media reports, the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has recovered at least eight country-made bombs from the house of a man related to Sanatan Sansthan in Nala Sopara.

The squad also recovered raw material to make explosives, gun powder and detonators and timers  from a nearby shop, which served as the office of the arrested accused Vaibhav Raut.

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

According to sources, the raw material found at the shop includes large quantity of gun powder and detonators, enough to make over two dozen bombs, reports India TV.

The Hindustan Times reports that the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra police arrested a suspected member of a right-wing Hindu organisation at Nallasopara in Palghar district near Mumbai and seized eight crude bombs and explosives from his house late Thursday.

The activity at the Palghar office was going on for the last six months or so.

Raut was under surveillance by the Maha ATS after receiving intelligence from the Kerala SIT investigating the murder of writer and journalist Gauri Lankesh. Amol Kale, another Sanatan Sanstha member arrested for the murder of Gauri Lankesh had revealed the name of Vaibhav Raut and told investigators that Raut was a member of a right-wing extremist group, involved in murder and killing of anti-Hindu voices. A diary with about 36 names was recovered by the SIT.

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

Vaibhav Raut (40) allegedly belongs to Sanatan Sanstha and has been a member of the group since 2012. He will be produced before the Bhoiwada court on Friday afternoon, reports HT.

An ATS team with a dog squad searched Raut’s ground floor house at Bandarali village in Sopara, Nalasopara (west). The search operations continued till early Friday, said ATS sources.

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

“Raut used his estate agency office to store and make the bombs and we have seized materials like gun powder, detonators and other articles which could make a dozen more crude bombs. We believe Raut used his office as a front to make the bombs,” an ATS officer was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.

Suvez Haque, deputy inspector general of the ATS refused to comment on the incident and said all queries will be answered from HQ ATS as per protocol.

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 April 2017, the Maharashtra government sent a proposal to the Centre seeking a ban on Sanatan Sanstha.

The Goa-headquartered outfit was linked to two high profile murder cases, including that of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, and also terror activities in Goa and Maharashtra.

with inputs from India Tv and Hindustan Times

Besides Sanatan Sanstha and HJS member Vaibhav Raut, two more persons arrested by Maha ATS, huge quantity of explosives seized in overnight raid

In multiple raids across Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Friday arrested two more people after at least eight country-made bombs along with a huge quantity of gun powder and other explosives, including detonators and timers and literature were seized from the residence of Vaibhav Raut, a Sanatan Sanstha member on Friday morning.

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

While Raut has been arrested and is being questioned by police, two others were arrested from Pune and Palghar. Raids are currently underway in Pune and Aurangabad.

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

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

Raut is likely to be placed under arrest and produced before a local court, sources told The Indian Express.

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

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

“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.

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

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

The Sanatan Sanstha issued a press note claiming that Vaibhav Raut was a part of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS). However, he has not been active for the past couple of months.

HJS Maharashtra organiser Sunil Ghanvat said Raut is a fearless cow protector (gau rakshak). But he denied Raut was actively involved with his organisation.

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

Both the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS got into a war of words, each trying to deny Raut’s assocation with their organisation, claiming that he was just a sympathizer.

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

Arrested by ATS for possession of bombs and explosives, Vaibhav Raut was an active member of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and a vociferous Gau-Rakshak

The Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad (ATS) has recovered at least eight country-made bombs and other explosives and detonators from the house of Sanathan Sanstha worker Vaibhav Raut, reports India Today.

From the initial investigation, it seems the bomb-making activity was going on for at least six months, prior to the raid on Friday.

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

In a late night raid, the squad searched Raut’s house and a nearby local shop in Palghar.

According to a source, at least eight country-made live bombs were recovered from his residence. A lot of other hardware and electronic items like timers and detonators were also found, as was testing equipment like multi-meters and other electronic circuits used to make remote controlled detonators.

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

The team also seized raw material like gunpowder and detonators from a nearby shop.

The police claimed that a large amount of gunpowder was seized which is enough to make over two dozen bombs. It is surprising how such a huge amount of explosives were stocked at Raut’s residence.

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

Raut who was at home during raids has been taken into custody. The dog squad was also present during the raid.

Vaibhav Raut has been associated with Sanatan Sanstha and a few other Hindu organisation from Nalasopara near Mumbai.

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

He will be produced in the court in afternoon today, after police complete the paper work including preparing the remand application.

Passing the buck

The Sanatan Sanstha issued a press note claiming that Vaibhav Raut was a part of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS). However, he has not been active for the past couple of months.

HJS Maharashtra organiser Sunil Ghanvat said Raut is a fearless cow protector (gau rakshak). But he denied Raut was actively involved with his organisation.

Both the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS got into a war of words, each trying to deny Raut’s assocation with their organisation, claiming that he was just a sympathizer.

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

HJS claimed that Raut is a core member of the Sanatan Sanstha and would occasionally take part in HJS activities particularly cow protection.

However, Raut had not participated in any of the programmes for the past few months, Ghanvat added.

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

Sunil Ghanvat called Raut’s arrest a “needless harassment of Hindu organisation activists” to implicate them into false cases.

“This has been amply proved through the Malegaon case. And then the arrest of many innocent followers of Sanatan Sanstha. Raut is an instance of Malegaon Part 2,” Ghanvat said.

with inputs from India Today and India TV

Palghar Estate Agent Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs, detonators and explosives were seized was with the Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

Even though the Sanatan Sanstha may deny it, the ATS team that arrested Vaibhav Raut and seized explosives and bombs from his residence and office at Palghar, have confirmed that Raut was an active member of the Sanatan Sanstha for the last six years.

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

This fact is proved that the Sanstha immediately deputed its advocate to liaison with the Maharashtra police in the arrest case. The Sanstha has extended complete support and help to the arrested accused Raut.

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

The Maharashtra ATS team along with forensic experts and a dog squad searched the ground floor house belonging to Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut, located at Bandarali village in Sopara, Nalasopara ( west) late on Thursday night and Friday morning.

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

Search operations continued till early Friday. Raut has been arrested. He is likely to be produced in the Bhoiwada court in Mumbai.

Around eight crude bombs and raw materials were seized. Raut (40), a real estate agent has been reportedly with the Sanstha since six years.

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

The search operation was carried out in the flat and the real estate office. The country made crude bombs were found in the house while gun powders and detonators were reportedly stocked in a shop from where Raut operated his real estate business.

According to media reports, the Sanatan Sanstha was used to as a conduit to collect and channel funds for the murder of writer and journalist Gauri Lankesh. Over 36 other targets were on the hit list of far-right extremist organisations with links to the Sanatan Sanstha.

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

The investigators are now looking at the source of these explosives and how Raut intended to use them.

Sources say that ATS team had been keeping a vigil on him fo some days and raided his house along with forensics team and dog squad late on Thursday night. The search operation is still on.

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

The ATS officials had a confidential tip about Raut’s activities and watched him for about 10-15 days before moving in.

The ATS has arrested Vaibhav Raut and will present him before the Bhoiwada Court in Mumbai later this afternoon after the proper paperwork and remand application.

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

Meanwhile, Raut’s lawyer Sanjiv Punalekar said that the ATS has not informed him about his client’s arrest. “Anti-Terrorism Squad has not intimidated us about arrest of Vaibhav Raut. Wonder what kind of law is being followed in this country and in Maharashtra. We’ll take all legal steps,” Punalekar told ANI on Friday morning.

Sanatan Santhan was founded in 1999 by Jayant Balaji Athavale.

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 of Narendra Dabholkar (in 2013), Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi (both in 2015).

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

In December 2015 Minister of State for Home informed in Rajya Sabha that, no links could be found among the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi.

Dabholkar’s family is claiming the link between the three murders and requesting court to club the cases.

However, the Central Bureau of Investigation have informed High Court that it is waiting for the ballistic report from Scotland Yard to link all three cases.