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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
“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.
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.