With the arrest of Hindutva Terrorist Vaibhav Raut, Butchers, Meat-traders breathe easy in Nala Sopara

Nalasopara has heaved a big sigh of relief after the arrest of suspected Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut, who had allegedly terrorized his neighbourhood with his activities, reports Mid-day.

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

According to the police, Raut, who called himself a gau rakshak, has been involved in a series of attacks on butchers in the area every Bakri-eid.

The ‘gau rakshak’ had terrorised the area with his activities, carrying out illegal raids on meat shops and creating communal tension in the area, say police

Raut allegedly tried to create communal tension, particularly in the neighbouring Sopara village, by harassing locals and carrying out illegal raids on mutton and beef shops.

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

Every year, the police would extern him from the area for short periods, by serving him notices under section 144 of the Mumbai Police Act.

Raut, however, would stay put by bringing in political influence in the name of cow protection, said an officer, adding that even the police will breathe easy after his arrest.

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

Living in terror
Sopara village’s Muslim community, especially the butchers, lived in fear and insecurity due to Raut’s activities — even when beef hadn’t been banned by the government, he would go around conducting ‘raids’ on meat shops and harassing the owners, said a local, Anis Qureshi.

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

Speaking to Mid-day, he added, “In 2014, Raut forcibly stopped my tempo in his area and assaulted the driver.

The driver called me and I went to the spot, but Raut and his colleague abused and assaulted me too, saying I was smuggling cow meat.

They forcibly took me and my tempo to Nalasopara police station.

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

I have never carried or supplied cow meat; after I showed all the relevant documents to the cops, they let me go and registered a case against Raut and his colleague.

“Large numbers of Muslims as well as gau rakshaks had gathered outside the police station that day… he had succeeded in creating communal tension; clashes could have erupted anytime. Huge police bandobast was then deployed in the area, for the first time in the history of Nalasopara.”

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

Policespeak
“There are two cases of rioting and one of not following the district collector’s order registered against Raut at Nalasopara police station. Since 2015, we have been serving him notices to leave the area during Bakri-eid to maintain law and order there,” said Datta Totewar, SDPO, Nalasopara Division of Palghar district.

Source: Mid-day

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

with inputs from Indian Express

Was an Undercover Killer linked to a Goa-based Far-Right Extremist Outfit Contracted to Kill Fr Bismarque Dias by the Builder Mafia?

Sleuths from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of writer-activist Gauri Lankesh could have accidentally stumbled upon some evidence that could throw light on the sudden, “accidental death by drowning” of Goan social activist Fr Bismarque Dias.

According to a Times of India report, the Crime Branch of the Goa police had filed a closure report in the death of social activist, Bismarque Dias from St Estevam, citing ‘mistake of facts’.

In April 2017, the death of the activist was registered as murder on the directive of the High Court of Bombay at Goa. The crime branch in its closure report, said that on the basis of scientific, forensic, and circumstantial evidence, it can be clearly concluded that it (Dias’ death) was accidental death and no foul play could be suspected.

However, days before his body was spotted floating in Goa’s Mandovi river on November 5, 2015, Father Bismarque Dias had circulated a video naming builders, real estate agents and politicians, and said they should be held responsible if he died suddenly.

Differences with the Goa church over sale of land to a private firm had seen Dias being disrobed, but he remained ‘Father’ for many of Goa’s Catholics.

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

In a new twist to the Bismarque murder-accidental death case, according to SIT sources who have arrested 3-4 persons closely linked to the Ponda-based outfit Sanatan Sanstha, a couple of  individuals associated with the extremist outfit could have been contracted by the Builder Mafia in Goa to get rid of Fr Bismarque, who was becoming a thorn in their side.

Continuous interrogation of the arrested accused Amol Kale alias Bhaisab (39) an activist of the HJS from Maharashtra, Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep (39) a Sanatan Sanstha activist and resident of Goa and Manohar Edave (28) a resident of Vijayapura in Karnataka have revealed details, which the SIT is keeping close to it’s chest as it would hamper further investigations.

However, SIT sources said the arrested persons would do “jobs” on a freelance basis to collect funds for their main activity, which was to eliminate what they termed anti-Hindu voices across the country. The arrested persons above have admitted to the SIT to having done one freelance “job” in Goa, involving an activist who was targeted by the land mafia, but more details are not available at the time of filing this story.

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

One such job was possibly the murder of Fr Bismarque at the behest of the Goa Builder Lobby by infiltrating the activist-priest’s personal network with an undercover Sanatan Sanstha member who incapacitated the priest (who had already consumed a few drinks) and then forcibly drowned him or caused him to drown, making the death look like a case of accidental drowning.

According to news website NewsClick.in, investigations into the assassination of rationalist and anti-Hindutva voices — Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh — has produced clear evidence in the form of diaries, documents, gun forensics, and statements of participants, that a five state network of like-minded hardcore extremist Hindutva supporters exists which has been actively planning the physical elimination of many other opponents of their regressive, medieval ideology.

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

The shadowy leaders of at least two known Hindu extremist groups, the Sanatan Sanstha (SS) and its splinter Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) were the fulcrum of the inter-state terror group, which specialized in secret assassinations of anti-Hindu voices.

This network drew upon killers from two outfits the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. The Sanatan Sanstha’s bank accounts were used to receive funds, which were then withdrawn in cash and used to pay the killers for their expenses.

Also Read: Main accused in Gauri Lankesh murder confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder case of journalist Gauri Lankesh seized two bikes used by the accused to execute the murder.

SIT team along with police team led by CPI Raju seized two bikes from a house in Kunigal. SIT revealed that one of the accused, HL Suresh confessed of about having two bikes in a house at Kunigal.

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

Prominent activists from Goa last week demanded a ban on the Sanathan Sanstha, calling the right-wing outfit an “extra-constitutional authority” and a “cancer” whose spread should be stopped, reports NDTV.

The latest catalyst for the demand came after inputs of a threat to the life of progressive writer Damodar Mauzo. A special investigation team (SIT) of the Karnataka police, which is probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last September, had told the Goa police about the threat to Mr Mauzo’s life.

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

The Goa-based right-wing organisation, which has a pan-India presence, however, maintained that the allegations were “baseless”, claiming to have worked in the field of “spirituality” to spread “religious wisdom” about Hinduism.

Mauzo told PTI that the organisation was a “cancer” which should be stopped from spreading in Goa. He also accused the Goa government of going soft on the extremist outfit.

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

Stressing on the need for a ban on the Sanstha, Prashant Naik, a social activist, told PTI that legal luminaries should be roped in by the state government to place before the court the need for a ban. “We lost an ‘open-and-shut’ 2009 Margao blast case due to poor legal support during the trial,” he pointed out.

Two men, including one allegedly from the Sanatan Sanstha, had died in 2009 while they were transporting explosives to be reportedly planted in a crowded area in Margao. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had charge-sheeted half-a- dozen activists of the Sanstha, but the accused were acquitted by a local court due to lack of evidence.

Also Read: Goa Govt protecting murderers, going soft on Sanatan Sanstha: Mauzo

“The way the Sanatan Sanstha is going about spreading hatred in the society, it should be banned,” Mr Naik added.

The demand echoed in state Congress president Girish Chodankar. “The Sanatan Sanstha or any organisation that behaves like an extra-constitutional authority should be banned,” he said, highlighting that it had been named in the murder of progressive intellectuals like M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh.

What Chodankar forgot was the possible link of the Sanstha in the “accidental death by drowning” of the Goan activist-priest Bismarque Dias.

“When its name figures in all these murder cases, there is no reason why it should be allowed to continue functioning,” the Congress leader had said calling for a ban on the outfit.

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

Prominent institutions of Goa have demanded a ban on the Sanstha including the Konkani Bhasha Mandal (KBM) — the state’s leading literary institution.

Referring to the threat to Mauzo’s life, the KBM president, Chetan Acharya, said it was the first time that a writer had been threatened in the coastal state.

“Goa is known for its peaceful co-existence and we don’t want institutions like the Sanatan Sanstha which work like extra-constitutional bodies,” Mr Acharya said. “We strongly demand a ban on it so that it can’t spread hatred in Goa any further.”

However, when contacted, the Sanstha’s spokesperson, Chetan Rajhans, refuted the allegations, claiming that there was no threat to Mr Mauzo’s life, at least from his organisation. “Is there any official confirmation to the claims that his life is threatened due to the Sanatan Sanstha?” he asked.

with inputs from PTI, NDTV and Times of India

Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder to ensure a direct hit, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

August 2, 2018: During his training in the usage of guns under the tutelage of members of a radical extremist Hindutva group in a forest near Belgaum on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border, 26-year-old Parashuram Waghmare, who is accused of shooting journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017, was told by at least one person to “shoot her in the head’’ like they had done while shooting Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi, the Indian Express reports.

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

According to the Indian Express this revelation by Waghmare, the alleged shooter in the Lankesh case, has provided the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka police an inkling that at least one of the persons involved in training Waghmare was also involved in the unsolved murder of Kalburgi on August 30, 2015.

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

The finding that some of Waghmare’s trainers were directly involved in the Kalburgi murder adds to forensic findings that a common group of assassins was involved in the two shootings.

A report from the Karnataka state forensic science laboratory of the analysis of ballistic evidence in the two cases — presented with a preliminary chargesheet filed by the SIT on May 30 in the Lankesh case — states that Kalburgi and Lankesh were killed with the exact same 7.65 mm country-made gun, reports Indian Express.

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

Kalburgi was killed at the doorstep of his Dharwad home by an unidentified gunman, who shot him in the head at almost point blank range after his wife opened the door to a stranger seeking to meet the scholar.

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

A report from the Karnataka state forensic science laboratory of the analysis of ballistic evidence in the two cases — presented with a preliminary chargesheet filed by the SIT on May 30 in the Lankesh case — states that Kalburgi and Lankesh were killed with the exact same 7.65 mm country-made gun.

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

Kalburgi was killed at the doorstep of his Dharwad home by an unidentified gunman, who shot him in the head at almost point blank range after his wife opened the door to a stranger seeking to meet the scholar says the Indian Express report.

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

Lankesh was killed after four bullets were fired at her by a gunman while she was opening the gate to her home after returning from work on the evening of September 5, 2017. The SIT has identified Waghmare as the man who arrived wearing a helmet to shoot the journalist while his accomplice, identified as Ganesh Miskin, 27, waited on a motorcycle a few yards away.

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

The SIT probe has found that Waghmare trained in the usage of firearms with Miskin, who hails from Hubbali. The others allegedly involved in the training were Rajesh Bangera, 50, a government employee and owner of two licensed pistols, who served as the main arms trainer for youths recruited by the Hindutva group, and Amol Kale, 37, a former Pune coordinator of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti who led the operations of the secret group.

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

SIT sources said that Waghmare revealed during questioning that he was told during his training to “shoot in the head” as it was done in the Kalburgi murder to ensure a clean hit.

In remand applications since the arrest of Waghmare on June 11 and Miskin on July 22, the SIT has stated that the duo were together when Waghmare was trained.

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

“The accused no A9 (Miskin) along with accused no A7 (Waghmare) trained in the usage of firearms — pistol shooting — in a forest region near Belagavi,’’ states an SIT remand application of July 23 seeking custody of Miskin and his Hubbali friend Amit Baddi.

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 SIT arrested Waghmare last month for the Lankesh murder after finding clues leading to him in a diary belonging to Kale. Based on descriptions provided by Waghmare about his accomplice in the Lankesh shooting, and analysis of mobile phone usage by the group, the SIT arrested Miskin and Baddi, 28, on July 22.

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

Miskin was chosen by the secretive group to ride the motorcycle to take Waghmare to Lankesh’s home to carry out the shooting because of his possible involvement in an earlier murder of a similar nature, SIT sources said. The SIT probe has found that Miskin trained a few years earlier in the usage of firearms under Bangera — after he was recruited by Kale.

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

The probe has found that the group’s main arms trainer, Bangera, 50, who was a second division clerk in the state government, was also the main supplier of ammunition to the group for their assassination plots.

“The accused no 11 (Bangera) used to buy ammunition for the licensed pistols in his possession and has supplied 20 bullets to A3 (Kale),” the SIT stated in a July 24 remand application seeking custody of Bangera, the Indian Express reports.

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

Since the arrest of Bangera, the SIT has found that he bought hundreds of .32 or 7.65 mm bullets over the last six years from an ammunition store in Madikeri in the guise of using it for his licensed weapons and diverted many of the bullets to the Hindutva group, the Indian Express reports.

Long before he trained Waghmare, Bangera is alleged to have trained Miskin in usage of firearms. Several other youths recruited by Kale and his aides for the group are alleged to have been trained by Bangera, sources said.

Source: Indian Express

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