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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suspect in Vashi attack admits role

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another suspect makes explosive claims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: INDIA TODAY

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.

Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis says Sanatan Sanstha’s ideology is violence-driven and against Hindu Values

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday broke his silence on Sanatan Sanstha and its ideology, condemning the organisation for fermenting and following a policy of violence.

According to a NewsX report, Devendra Fadnavis alleged that the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government did not take a strict action against the Sanstha, however, it is his government which is making a watertight case against them.

He said there is no pressure on the Maha ATS and he wants the ATS to work hard and plug all the loopholes in the case.

Criticizing the previous Congress-led government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that UPA did not make a strong case against the Sanstha even when the first murder was committed when their (Congress) government was in the power.

Speaking about Sanatan Sanstha’s ideology, Devendra Fadnavis said that their ideology is just to indulge in violence. Their ideology is violence driven.

In an interview to NewsX, the Fadnavis said, “there can be no link with those people who have such ideology.” It is against Hindu values, the CM said.

If you talk about Hinduism, then it’s ideology is to remain tolerant. These people (Sanatan Sanstha) have no ideology because their ideology is violence.

However, the Sanatan Sanstha has always claimed that the ATS or other officials have never named it in the arms haul case.

Previously in August, speaking on the issue of banning proposal of Sanatan Sanstha, Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, Deepak Kesarkar said that Maharashtra had not initiated a new banning proposal but only added to the queries of the earlier one which may get lapsed.

However, Kesarkar mentioned that the government can only consider for a fresh ban proposal after the ongoing investigations into the Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare murder cases get completed provided that the links between the accused and Sanatan Sanstha are established.

with inputs from NewsX

Sanatan Sanstha Knew All About It’s Foot Soldiers’ Activities, Claims Gauri Lankesh Probe SIT

BENGALURU:  (PTI) The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka police probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case is hunting for at least five more people.

Also Read: Terror Suspects Planned to Bomb Mahim Dargah, Bandra Fair at Mount Mary’s Church and Pune Sunburn Festival

The SIT insists the leadership of Hindu right wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha was fully aware of the activities of its “foot soldiers” in the killing of some rationalists.

Also Read: Shiv Sena leaders including Uddhav Thackeray were fully aware of Shrikant Pangarkar’s terror links, ‘explosions’, ‘bomb blasts’ plot?

The five men are based out of Goa and Maharashtra adjoining the Karnataka border, an SIT official said, adding that they had taken part in the crimes.

As the SIT started cracking the murder case of Gauri Lankesh, a journalist-activist with strong anti-Hindutva views, leading to the arrest of key players in the killing of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi, it discovered the wide network of operatives of the gang involved in these incidents.

Also Read: Shrikant Pangarkar assembled bombs, funded purchase of explosives and boasted of ‘explosions’ and ‘bomb blasts’ to MoS Arjun Khotkar

“The leadership of Goa-headquartered Sanatan Sanstha was aware of the activities of its foot soldiers and lower rung cadre. We cannot subscribe to this statement that the leadership was not aware of it. They definitely knew about these plots,” the official claimed.

Also Read: Nikhil Wagle, Shyam Manav, Mukta Dabholkar, Ritu Raj, Jitendra Awhad and others on the hit-list of far-right terrorists

He, however, said it was “tricky” to say the outfit had morphed into a terrorist organisation.

The official, however, said there were sufficient reasons to invoke the stringent Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) against the gang members.

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

KCOCA is the Karnataka version of the law in place in Maharashtra to curb underworld activities, often dubbed as draconian by civil rights groups.

Several people with alleged links to the Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested in connection with these killings, but the outfit has insisted they were not its members.

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

Sanatan Sanstha spokesman Chetan Rajhans recently said some people with so-called “progressive mindset” and political parties like the Congress and the Left were trying to put the organisation in the dock without providing evidence of any wrongdoing.

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

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara had said on Tuesday the state police was yet to establish the role of Sanatan Sanstha in the killing of Gauri Lankesh, an outspoken critic of pro-Hindutva ideology, who was shot dead outside her residence on September 5 last year.

Source: PTI

Terror Suspects Planned to Bomb Mahim Dargah, Bandra Fair at Mount Mary’s Church and Pune Sunburn Festival

According to a Hindustan Times report, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Tuesday claimed in a special court that the five recently arrested sympathizers of the Hindu right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha (the group has distanced itself from the accused and said they are not its members) planned to plant explosives at last year’s edition of Sunburn, an annual electronic dance music festival in Pune.

Also Read: Shiv Sena leaders including Uddhav Thackeray were fully aware of Shrikant Pangarkar’s terror links, ‘explosions’, ‘bomb blasts’ plot?

All five were arrested earlier this month from Nalla Sopara, Pune and Jalna in connection with an arms case, and were remanded to ATS custody.

Meanwhile, sources in the Karnataka Special Investigation Team (SIT) told IndiaScoops.com that Amol Kale who was the leader of the fringe group responsible for the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh told his interrogators that the Maharashtra unit or cell of the far-right terror group was planning to plant bombs at the very popular “Bandra Fair” at the Mount Mary Church at Bandra, which attracts thousands of devotees in September.

Also Read: Shrikant Pangarkar assembled bombs, funded purchase of explosives and boasted of ‘explosions’ and ‘bomb blasts’ to MoS Arjun Khotkar

There were 6-7 locations in Mumbai alone and about 20 different locations all over Maharashtra which were being considered by the terror suspects, Kale is understood to have told his interrogators.

“They also had plans to set off bombs at some Ganpati Mandals across Maharashtra, the Mahim dargah during Muharram as well as the Mount Mary Church during the peak festive season starting in September. The bombs would be of low-intensity, which were meant to create a scare and fear psychosis in the mind of the people,” the SIT official told IndiaScoops.com.

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

ATS officials claimed in court that two of the accused – Gondhalekar and Raut – planned to attack the music festival scheduled in Pune for December 2017 because they felt it was “against Hindu culture”.

Sunburn was held in Goa until 2015, and shifted to Pune in 2016.

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

Prosecutors appearing for the ATS made these assertions before a special court constituted to try Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act cases. On Tuesday, four of the five accused – Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanva Gondhalekar and Shrikant Pangarkar – were produced in court, with prosecutors seeking an extension of their custody.

Special court judge Sameer Adkar extended their custody by seven days. The fifth accused, Avinash Pawar, will be produced in court on August 31, reports Hindustan Times.

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

ATS also claimed that the five accused were involved in throwing petrol bombs outside cinema halls in Kalyan (a city in Thane district, 50 km north-east of Mumbai), and Belagavi (earlier known as Belgaum) in Karnataka for screening the Hindi movie ‘Padmaavat’, Hindustan Times reported.

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

ATS further claimed that the accused planned to attack individuals who they thought were propagating or engaging in activity that was “against the Hindu religion”.

Atulchandra Kulkarni, Maharashtra ATS chief, said he could not “confirm the names because it will pose a security threat to the individuals.”

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

The individuals include an author-historian; a former Marathi newspaper editor and three Marathi authors and playrights, ATS officials said on condition of anonymity. Hindustan Times did not name them because of the perceived security threat to the individuals.

The ATS officials also said they had recovered three motorcycles, including one from Nalla Sopara and two from Pune, and claimed one of three bikes, allegedly owned by Kalaskar, may have been used in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru in September 2017.

Also Read: Maha Govt Protected and Shielded Right-Wing Murder-Accused for Four Years, Gauri Lankesh Probe Forced Mah Govt to make Arrests

In their raids, ATS officials claimed to have recovered 10 pistols, one air pistol, one country-made revolver, 10 pistol barrels, six pistol bodies, six magazines, three handmade magazines, one half-prepared country-made revolver, and seven hand-made pistols from Gondhalekar.

Also Read: Journalist Nikhil Wagle was No 2 on the hit list of Maha Terror Suspects

Sunil Gonsalves, the public prosecutor appearing for ATS, told the court that the weapons used by the accused had been dismantled and were thrown away at different places to avoid detection, and that they needed to be recovered. He didn’t elaborate.

with inputs from Hindustan Times

Illegal activities tarnished the image of BJP and Narendra Modi govt. Centre decided to teach these fringe elements a lesson, claims Home official

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Maharashtra government to submit a detailed report on its investigation into extremist Hindutva organisation Sanathan Sanstha, which is suspected to be involved in the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, communist leader Govind Pansare, writer MM Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Deepak Kesarkar, state minister for home, confirmed to DNA that they are updating the report daily with details daily.

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

“When something big happens, it is routine practice for us to inform the central government. The investigation is in a primary stage. We have not yet confirmed that Sanathan Sanstha was involved in the killing of Dabholkar and the others. The probe is under way and going in the right direction,” Kesarkar said.

He said the state is not interfering in the investigation. “The police are at complete liberty to find the culprit, irrespective of their affiliation. The guilty should be punished and we will not spare anyone who is involved in organised crime,” Kesarkar said.

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

Sources in the state home department said the central government has directed it to deal with “anti-social” and “anti-national elements” with an iron fist. “The Centre told us that Sanathan Sanstha or any other extremist Hindutva organisation causing violence in the name of cows and Hindu dharma has to be stopped.

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

These illegal activities have tarnished the image of the BJP and the Narendra Modi-led government. Therefore, the centre had decided to teach these fringe elements a lesson,” a departmental source said, requesting anonymity.

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

Another officer from the state home ministry said that the BJP-led government did not want to take any risk before 2019 elections. “So the police have got a free hand to probe this case and arrest the conspirators,” he said.

Source: DNA

Maharashtra government to fast-track proposal for ban on Sanatan Sanstha

After the latest breakthrough in the murder of rationalist and anti-superstition crusader, Dr Narendra Dabholkar, the state government is looking at fast-tracking its long-pending proposal to ban the controversial Sanatan Sanstha.

The senior state government functionaries said they were appraising the Centre about the developments in the case, in which members of the right-wing radical Hindutva group, which is headquartered at Ponda in Goa, have been accused of alleged involvement in Dabholkar’s killing in 2013.

Dabholkar, who headed the Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti and edited the Sadhana weekly, was shot dead by two assailants riding a motorcycle on August 20, 2013, while on his morning walk, in Pune.

After an arms and crude bombs haul at Nalasopara and Pune, at least four right-wing workers — Vaibhav Raut, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Sharad Kalaskar and former Shiv Sena corporator Shrikant Pangarkar were arrested by the state Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) since August 9 for allegedly planning terror activities in some cities of Maharashtra. Sachin Andure, who was arrested from Aurangabad, has been accused of shooting Dabholkar with Kalaskar.

Deepak Kesarkar, minister of state for home, said they would appraise the Centre of the investigations in the case. “It will depend on what is revealed in the probe. We have ensured compliance on the queries raised (by the Centre on the Maharashtra government’s proposal) earlier,” he added.

A senior home department official said their 2011 proposal to the Union Home Ministry to ban the Sanstha was still pending. This proposal had mentioned cases registered against the members of the outfit founded by Dr Jayant Balaji Athavale.

“The Centre raised some queries which we replied to. Since 2015, no fresh queries were sent. The delay may be because so far, no members of the group have been convicted and some cases are sub-judice,” he explained. Moreover, banning any outfit or organisation made their activities go underground and hence, tough for the law enforcement agencies to track.

“We have sent our report on the case involving Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanva Gondhalekar to the union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). As a protocol, if an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, case is registered by any agency, it has to send a report within 24 hours to the MHA and the state home department,” said an ATS officer.

Founded as the Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskruti Sanstha in the 1990s, the organisation have been registered in different names across states, making it difficult for agencies to track and ban them.

Leader of the opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and other opposition figures have also sought that the outfit be proscribed. However, Sanatan spokesperson said Congress leaders were targeting the group to “save their own skin.”

Sadhaks (seekers or devotees) of the Sanstha have been allegedly linked to the murder of Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Govindrao Pansare in 2015 at Kolhapur and the group has been accused of being allegedly involved in planting explosives at theaters in Thane and Vashi. The group also publishes a daily called ‘Sanatan Prabhat.’

Source: DNA

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

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

August 19, 2018: The trio arrested by the Maharashtra ATS last week – Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar. Sudhanav Gondhalekar and about 12 other persons who are under the scanner of the ATS, and under interrogation, had planned to rain terror and chaos in Maharashtra in the coming two months.

The ATS is looking into various angles and is verifying a list of targets on the hit list of radical extremist elements, obtained from the diary of Amol Kale who was arrested by the Karnataka SIT probing the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

It was the Karnataka SIT that tipped off the Maharashtra ATS, resulting in the arrest of the trio from Nala Sopara and Pune along with a huge cache of arms, ammunition, explosives and bomb-making materials.

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

With Eid, Dahi Handi (Gokulashtami) and Ganpati around the corner in the next 35-45 days, the motive was to scare the common man into believing that he was not safe in his own home.

Reliable sources revealed that over 16-18 low-intensity bomb blasts were planned at different parts and different venues across the State with a view to create a fear psychosis in the psyche of members of the majority community, while passing the blame and pointing the needle of suspicion on fringe elements in the minority community.

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

The venues included theaters, vegetable markets, places of worship and even during the Maratha agitation morchas, where hundreds of protesters from lower income groups would be present.

Rumors would also give rise to local skirmishes, leading to full-scale riots and the organisations behind or supporting the arrested conspirators had a ready machinery to instigate the youth in the majority community into attacking the others.

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

Investigators revealed that the right-wing extremist group had planned to blow up or create blasts at 6-7 theaters and at least 4-5 Ganapati mandaps in different parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai, Pune, Sangli and Solapur during the upcoming Eid and Ganapati festivals in Maharashtra and pin the blame on Muslim anti-social elements, police sources have claimed.

The blasts were planned over a period of 30 days and the bombs to be used in the explosions were being assembled in the office of gau rakshak Vaibhav Raut at Nala Sopara.

The ATS seized over 22 assembled bombs and explosives, timers, detonators and relay switches enough to manufacture another 30 to 40 low-intensity improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

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 Mumbai the targeted areas were near Bhendi Bazar, Malwani and Govandi, police sources claimed. 

According to the ATS, the three men were also planning to carry out attacks in Mumbai, Pune, Satara, Solapur and Nallasopara and the bombs they had assembled were low-intensity explosive devices meant to cause a commotion and create a scare in society.

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

Claims a report in The Indian Express, “The Maratha morchas were among their targets. During questioning, the accused have said that the crude bombs were assembled for the purpose of triggering a blast at the next Maratha protest. They planned to hurl low-intensity country-made bombs a few hundred meters away from the protest sites so that a strong message is sent to the establishment,” said a senior official.

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

In another related development, the Maharashtra ATS and the CBI in a joint operation arrested one more person alleged to be the main shooter, who pulled the trigger in the murder of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.

According to sources, information leading to the arrest came from the interrogation of Sharad Kalaskar, arrested by the ATS last week with two other members of radical Hindu outfits for allegedly planning to carry out bomb attacks in five cities in Maharashtra.

Also Read: Gau Rakshaks chant anti-police, anti-govt slogans, take out protest march demanding release of terror suspect Vaibhav Raut

“Sachin Prakasrao Andure of Aurangabad was arrested from Pune in the Dabholkar murder case. He was allegedly one of the shooters who fired at Dr Narendra Dabholkar. Investigation is continuing,” the CBI said in a press release on Saturday.

A senior ATS official said Kalaskar told his interrogators that he had played an active role in Dabholkar’s murder. He reportedly claimed that he and Andure were the shooters.

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

The ATS summoned Andure for interrogation and after he admitted to his role in the murder, placed him under arrest.

He was subsequently handed over to the CBI investigating the Dabholkar murder case.

“The duo also arranged for the motorcycle used in the murder of the rationalist. Andure was summoned and, after he confessed to the crime, he was handed over to the CBI,” said the ATS official. Sources said the CBI would seek Kalaskar’s custody later, reports The Indian Express.

with inputs from The Indian Express